SPAIN’S labour market has set a new record, as the number of people in work broke the 21.3-million barrier for the first time ever in the third quarter of 2023. That’s according to the latest figures from the Active Population Survey, which is compiled by the country’s National Statistics Institute (INE).
Compared to the second quarter of the year, the months July to August saw 209,100 more people in work in the Spanish economy, which is a greater than usual quarter-on-quarter rise for that time of year, according to the INE.
But the number of unemployed in Spain also grew 3.3% from the second to the third quarter, to 2.86 million people. That’s an overall unemployment rate of 12% of the active population – i.e. residents in Spain who are either working or actively seeking employment.
The reason for these two seemingly contradictory statistics lies in a sharp increase in the active population itself, which went up by 301,000 people from the second to the third quarters.
Possible reasons for this rise in jobseekers, according to Spanish press reports, include the loss in purchasing power due to the cost of living crisis forcing more people to look for work, as well as people seeking jobs given the ready availability of work.
In fact, the active population has also broken a new record, exceeding 24 million people in Spain for the first time ever.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday to present the figures, the secretary of state for the economy, Gonzalo Garcia Andres, pointed to the growth in unemployment in the third quarter of the year in the midst of a ‘complex’ international context.
He said that this was thanks to the ‘strength’ of the Spanish economy, as well as the ‘proper functioning’ of the labour market thanks to reforms implemented by the Socialist Party-led administration of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.