30 Jul
employment in Spain Covid19

Spain: Impact of COVID-19 on economy leaves more than 1 million people without a job in second quarter

Spain: The impact of COVID-19 and the restrictive measures adopted to contain the pandemic meant that the number of people in work in the second quarter of the year fell by 1,074,000, down 5.46%, to stand at 18,607,200.

This figures have been released by the Labour Force Survey (Spanish acronym. EPA), published by the National Statistics Institute (Spanish acronym: INE).

Over the last 12 months, as a result of COVID-19, the number of jobs shed, in year-on-year terms, amounts to 6.05%. It should be taken into account that this decline has only taken place during the pandemic.

The number of people out of work rose by 55,000 in this period, to stand at 3,368,000, and the unemployment rate stands at 15.33%.


According to the methodology of the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) and of the International Labour Organization (ILO), those people subject to a Temporary Lay-off Plan (Spanish acronym: ERTE) are considered to be people in work.

However, the total number of effective hours worked in the second quarter posted an unprecedented decline of 22.59%, due to the limitations on economic activity.

Furthermore, the decline in the number of people in work has translated into an increase of 1,062,800 inactive people in the second quarter. This increase has mainly taken place due to the overriding difficulties in finding work.

In the second quarter of the year, the decline in the number of people in work affected all economic sectors, continuing with the trend from the previous quarter, in which the figures on the number of people in work already shows the initial effects of COVID-19 on employment.

Services was the worst affected sector, with 816,900 fewer people in work, followed by Industry, down 127,000, Construction, down 108,700, and Agriculture, down 21,400.

In year-on-year terms, figures also dropped in all sectors, with 922,200 fewer workers in Services, 112,300 fewer in Industry, 107,300 fewer in Construction and 45,900 fewer in Agriculture.

The decline in number of workers is also widespread in all the autonomous regions in the last quarter, with the exception of the Balearic Islands, where the number of workers rose by 9,200 people.

The largest falls were recorded in Catalonia, with 223,700 fewer workers, Andalusia, down 198,100 and the Region of Madrid, down 184,400.

Over the last year, a decline was posted in worker number in all regions, with the exception of the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. The largest falls in worker numbers were recorded in Andalusia, down 226,800, Catalonia, down 203,600 and the Region of Valencia, down 140,600.

The drop in worker number in the second quarter was particularly steep for workers on temporary employment contracts.

While the number of people on permanent employment contracts fell by 361,400 (down 2.91%), the number on temporary employment contracts fell by 671,900 (down 16.22%).

This pattern is similar in year-on-year terms, with a drop of 929,100 temporary workers and of 232,200 permanent workers.

The drop in people in work continues to affect women more than men. In the second quarter, the number of women in work dropped by 6.06%, compared with 4.95% for men. The figures were similar in year-on-year terms, with a drop in the number of women in work of 6.42% and of men in work of 5.74%.

In the second quarter, the number of people who lost their jobs rose by 55,000, to stand at 3,368,000, with an unemployment rate of 15.33%.

The figures show that the flexibility measures of the ERTEs have proven to be effective in reducing the impact on employment, and this is less acute than in previous crises.

By autonomous region, in quarter-on-quarter terms, the largest increases in unemployment took place in Catalonia, with 61,300 more people unemployed, the Region of Madrid, up 54,500 and the Region of Valencia, up 42,500. In contrast, falls in unemployment were recorded in Andalusia, with 48,200 fewer unemployed, Castile La Mancha, down 20,900 and Extremadura, down 15,000.

In year-on-year terms, the largest rises in unemployment were also posted in Madrid, with 62,900 more people out of work, the Region of Valencia, 43,100 and Catalonia, up 41,700. Falls in unemployment were posted in Andalusia, down 47,000, the Canary Islands, down 13,300 and Castile La Mancha, down 5,000.

By sector, the Services sector saw the largest rise in unemployment in the last quarter, up 199,000, and in the last 12 months, by 385,900.

By: Estela Martín

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