Editorial | Employment, despite the dark clouds

That unemployment falls and that the number of employees grows is always, everywhere, very good news. Especially when we talk about an economy like the Spanish one, endemically affected by unemployment, always well above, dramatically above, those of the surrounding countries.

This November, unemployment fell to below pre-COVID levels, reaching its lowest point since 2008, when the real estate and financial crisis broke out. In line with the drop in unemployment, last month new employees were added for the third consecutive month, becoming the best november in 20 years. And this despite the fact that the month of November is not usually conducive to hiring and the clouds of escalating inflation, difficulties in supplies and the new variant of the covid. In Catalonia, last November can also be described as a record, since 3.5 million employees have been exceeded and more than 370,000 people have come out of unemployment.

Among the sectors that are pulling the most up in employment is the construction (with about 15,000 more workers than before the covid). Likewise, accumulated large interannual increases in the hostelry and the artistic activities, very damaged during the terrible 2020. All these figures deny the apocalyptic omens on which the right-wing opposition to the Government of Pedro Sánchez, and the PP of Pablo Casado with singular emphasis, has been insisting.

Nevertheless, Nor does it seem that the most optimistic predictions will be confirmed on the vigor and speed with which the Spanish economy was going to recover after the pandemic. Thus, on Wednesday the new forecasts of the OECD were made public, which warns that the Spanish recovery will be slower than expected. The OECD estimates that Spanish growth for 2021 as a whole will be 4.5%, below the average for the euro zone. For 2022, the OECD forecast is one point higher, that is, 5.5%, so it is above the average.

Among the causes of the slowdown in growth in the Spanish economy, it is worth noting, as did the OECD, the slow deployment of European aid, the obstacles when it comes to injecting financing into companies and the difficulties of the tourism sector. To this must be added a runaway inflation (the interannual rate is 5.6%), and that not only generates a strong feeling of uncertainty, but also threatens to increase social unrest in the coming months, motivated by the erosion in the purchasing power of workers that this entails . The evolution of inflation is key in the future of the economy.

We must hope that the Executive will take measures, to which European funds should contribute, to, at least, begin to alleviate two of the deficiencies that characterize our labor market, that is, extreme temporality and the abundance of jobs with very low wages. To these it is necessary to add a third: the greater difficulty with which employment recovers among women compared to men.


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