Figures show drop in Spain’s unemployed

The number of people out of work in Spain fell during March, while the number of people contributing to the country’s Social Security system passed the 19-million mark for the first time since August 2008, according to data published by the Spanish Ministry of Employment, Migration and Social Security on Tuesday.

The number of people out of work fell by 33,956, or 1.03 percent during March, and now stands at 3,255,084.

This is the smallest March fall in the past five years, partly due to this year’s Easter holidays falling in late April unlike in the past few years when Easter had been celebrated in March.

Speaking to the press following the publication of the data, Spain’s Secretary of State for Employment and Social Security Yolanda Valdeolivas said she was confident that the late Easter would lead to a larger fall in unemployment for April.

The data means unemployment has fallen by 167,467, or 4.89 percent, in Spain over the past 12 months.

Unemployment dropped by 32,401 during March in the service sector and by over 4,000 in construction, although there was a slight rise in unemployment in the agricultural sector and people who registered as out of work without having previously held a job.

“I think this backs up the argument that there is a clearly positive behavior in the job market, both in rising employment and a fall in the unemployment rate,” said Valdeolivas, adding that the data showed there was no slowdown in the Spanish job market.

The precarious nature of much of the work in Spain was highlighted, however, by the fact that only 10.5 contracts were indefinite in nature, with the rest being temporary positions.

March saw the highest increase in people affiliated to Spain’s Social Security system in the past 11 years, with 155,104 people registering to the system, an increase of 0.82 percent.

This takes the number of contributors to the Social Security system to 19,043,079, the highest since the start of the economic crisis in August 2008 and an increase of 541,489, or 2.93 percent, over the past 12 months.