The labor reform is beginning to take effect and drives permanent contracts to a maximum, although the labor market has not managed to change the trend and the number of workers in ERTE slightly increases
The year 2022 has not managed to change the trend that the Spanish labor market has been dragging for decades in its early stages and January, due to the end of the Christmas campaign, has once again been a bad month for employment, since almost 200,000 jobs, unemployment has risen by more than 17,000 people and ERTE workers have slightly rebounded after eleven consecutive months of falls, according to data published this Wednesday by the Ministries of Labor and Social Security.
However, it can be said that the labor market continues on the right path and that it is even “one of the best Januarys in history”, according to the Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquín Pérez Rey, since the negative impact of a month characterized by its seasonality has been less than usual and even than expected. Thus, the increase in unemployment has been the most moderate of the entire historical series for this month, in which the average rise in unemployment exceeds 100,000 in recent years. Similarly, the reduction in affiliates is more restrained than the previous four years and is far from the almost 250,000 that were lost in 2021, and this despite the fact that Spain is still immersed in the sixth wave of the covid-19 pandemic. 19.
For this reason, the Government has stressed that it is “very good data”, which comes to support the “very thriving situation” that the labor market is experiencing. This was highlighted this Wednesday by the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, in statements to Telecinco, who also highlighted that it is “quality employment”, due to the value sectors in which it has been generated and with less temporality.
And it is that the labor reform that will foreseeably be approved today in Congress is already beginning to unfold its effects in its first month of entry into force and despite the fact that companies have three months to adapt to the new norm. Indefinite hiring has skyrocketed to record highs, with a total of 238,672 permanent contracts signed in January, twice as many as a year ago, which represents 15% of all new hires, compared to the 9.1% that was recorded on average during the validity of the labor reform of 2012.
The fact that for the first time in Spain 15% of new jobs are permanent is due “without a doubt” to the labor reform, said the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz. And to corroborate this, Pérez Rey explained that, contrary to what is usual, the vast majority of these stable contracts are initial, more than 160,000, 67% of the total, while barely 6,500 come from transformations of temporary contracts derived from the action of the Labor Inspection, which in January has not been “as important” as in previous months, he pointed out. “It is a reversal of the trend of what has been frequent, a clear revulsion towards permanent hiring that we hope will be the beginning,” she said, taking advantage of these “magnificent data”, some “hopeful” data.
Better than before the pandemic
In any case, Social Security cuts with a long period of almost a year in which, with the sole exception of the month of August, it added new affiliates every month and decreased by 197,750 average contributors in seasonally adjusted terms to 19,627,161. However, it is still at a level well above what it was before the pandemic broke out, with 376,000 more employed people.
It is true that here it would be necessary to discount the more than 105,000 workers who are still in ERTE, as well as another 108,000 self-employed who are with restricted activity and therefore accepted the cessation of activity, but it would still be exceeded by more than 160,000 members at the pre-pandemic level. And it is that in the last year almost 800,000 jobs have been created, which represents a growth of 4.24%, well above GDP and the largest increase in six months.
At the same time, unemployment increased in January by 17,173 people after ten consecutive months of cuts, an increase, yes, as is usual in this markedly seasonal month, but much lower than that of any previous year. The bitter face is that all those affected have been women, while male unemployment has been reduced. It is also worth noting the record that unemployment has been recorded in this last year, having been reduced by more than 841,000, with which the total figure currently stands at 3,123,078.
The sixth wave has also had an impact on the number of ERTE workers, which have increased by more than 2,500 to 105,043 at the end of January. Of them, slightly more than half have a total suspension of employment, while the rest work partially. In any case, there are 820,000 fewer people in ERTE than a year ago and a decrease of more than three million compared to the most acute moment of the pandemic. This means that more than 97% of the workers who were protected by this mechanism have already been reinstated.