Strong job creation in 2023. Spain added 783,000 jobs last year and reduced unemployment by 193,400 people, both records that more than double those achieved in 2022. At the end of the year, employment fell slightly compared to the summer, so which did not conclude with a new historical record of workers, but very close: 21.2 million employed people. Regarding unemployment, it fell to 2,830,600 people, with a decrease in the unemployment rate to 11.76%. The enormous rise in the active population (willing to work) stands out, which increased by almost 600,000 people.

The labor market thus closed 2023 near its peak, standing at 21,246,900 workers, according to data from the fourth quarter of 2023 from the Active Population Survey (EPA), when employment fell slightly (by 19,000 people). In addition, the labor market also expanded greatly last year, with an increase of 589,600 people, which placed the total population willing to work at 24 million.

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has described the data as “extraordinary”. “The EPA tells us that 2023 has been a formidable year despite such a difficult geopolitical environment, Spain has created more than 780,000 jobs, temporary employment at historic lows, when it has always been one of the Achilles’ heels. More quality jobs are created despite the bad omens of the prophets of the apocalypse who are never right,” he said this Friday.

The creation of 783,000 jobs is very notable. Not only did it double that of the previous year, but it is the second largest boom since 2005, in 18 years, only behind the 2021 post-pandemic comeback. This boost, of 3.8% year-on-year, reached both employees and the self-employed, with 664,000 and 118,300 more workers, respectively. Job creation corresponds more than 90% to the private sector compared to the public. By type of work day, full-time employment increased by 695,400 people and part-time employment by 87,600.

By sector, the greatest increase in employment occurred in construction, with an increase of 8%, to 108,300 workers. This was followed by the services sector (+4% and 629,200 more employees), agriculture (2%, 17,500 people) and, finally, industry, with an increase of 1%, which translates into 28,000 more workers.

“This improvement (in the labor market) is generalized and we see it in terms of the evolution of unemployment,” celebrated the new Minister of Economy, Carlos Body, at a breakfast at the Nueva Economía Fórum. “We have data that demonstrates strength, resistance even in a delicate international context. In any case, there is much left to do,” added Body, who recalled that the objective is “full employment” for this legislature.

In the Ministry of Labor, headed by Yolanda Díaz, they highlight that “female employment has increased by 437,200 workers”, the “largest increase in the last 24 years”, reaching “a record of more than 9.9 million”. Employment among men increased by 345,800 people.

By age, the greatest increases in workers occurred among the youngest and oldest people: those under 30 years of age added 204,400 workers, while those over 55 years of age added 272,500 workers.

The great boost in employment of foreign people also stands out, as well as their great incorporation into the active population. Of the total of 783,000 workers, 42% correspond to people of nationality other than Spanish (333,700 people), and they are responsible for more than half of the rise in the active population (60%, with 355,500 people).

2023 was not a particularly easy year. After 2022, marked by the war in Ukraine and the inflation crisis, last year prices fell, but remained high, and the economy faced the record rise in interest rates in a climate of international economic slowdown. However, as happened last year, employment has been one of the strengths and driving elements of the Spanish economy, which is leading growth in Europe.

Decrease in unemployment and great increase in the active population

Unemployment fell by 24,600 people in the last quarter of the year, bringing the total to 2,830,600 people and, in the last twelve months, it fell by 193,400 people. “For the first time in 16 years, a year ends below three million unemployed,” highlights the Ministry of Labor.

However, Yolanda Díaz has specified that “she does not want to be triumphalist” because there is still “a lot to do” in terms of unemployment, the highest in the European Union. “As long as there is a family with unemployed members, we must continue working,” she has maintained.

The annual decrease in unemployment is more than double that of last year (80,000) and is the most significant decrease since 2018, except for the post-COVID rebound. The unemployment rate fell eight hundredths compared to the previous quarter, to 11.76%, down to 2008 levels, at the beginning of the last financial crisis.

It must be emphasized that the unemployment rate is not decreasing further because the labor market expanded greatly in the last year. That is, because there are many more people in the active population, willing to have a job. The rise in this indicator by almost 600,000 people is very relevant: it tripled last year’s figure and is the highest for 15 years. Thus, the total active population stood at 24,077,400 people.

New minimum temporary employment

The progressive decline in temporary jobs after the labor reform leaves a new record in 2023. A new minimum for temporary employment was reached – employees with temporary contracts out of the total – which stood at 16.5%.

The other side of the decrease in temporary workers, 140,300 fewer throughout the year, has been the increase in permanent staff. “In 2023 the number of people with an indefinite contract has increased by 804,000, exceeding 15 million” people for the first time, highlights Trabajo.

The increase in permanent workers by 804,300 people corresponds mostly to ordinary permanent workers, with 746,800 more workers, to which is added an increase of 57,300 discontinuous permanent workers. In total terms, the latter reached 651,500 employed people at the end of 2023, 4% of the total permanent workers.


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