The love affair that employment data has with the Spanish economy continued last year. The labor market generated 539,740 jobs, bringing the total number of affiliates to record 20,836,010, as reflected in data released today by the Ministry of Social Security. 2023 was a better year for jobs than the previous one and between them they added more than a million people employed.

Employment therefore resists with a growth close to 2.7%, and dispels the worst forecasts, which showed a clear slowdown at the end of the year after November closed with a drop of 11,583 employed people. After the decline in the penultimate month of the year, December, marked by Christmas hiring, it recovered and 29,937 jobs were created.

Temporality: 14%

Among the good news is the increase in job stability, which has managed to reduce the temporary employment rate to a minimum of 14%, which comes after the entry into force of the labor reform, which since 2022 has limited the possibility for companies to hire on a temporary basis. Among the bad things is the fact that the Administration keeps this rate above 30%, ignoring the reform of Yolanda Díaz and Europe, which urged Spain to end temporary contracts and urged the government to seek solutions.

This good employment performance and the spiral of increase in contributions which accompanies the new year make it possible to obtain an injection of income to pay pensions which has made it possible to bring the ratio of contributors per retiree to 2.42. Data from the department headed by Elma Saiz shows that until November revenues increased by 10.3%, which will not prevent the state from having to save Social Security again with funds of one million dollars to be able to meet expenses which this year will exceed 200 billion.

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To deal with spiraling spending and the arrival of the “baby boom” generation, the government has decided to increase contributions for businesses and workers. The combination of double increases of maximum bases contribution, the increase in the minimum base due to the updating of the minimum wage, which will increase by approximately 4%, and the 0.7% surcharge in the intergenerational equity mechanism will lead to an increase in costs throughout this financial year, around 7 billion.

The number of self-employed workers also followed a good trajectory during the year which has just ended and remained at 3,344,368. The group had 15,966 workers, although a detailed analysis of business sectors indicates that agriculture, industry and especially commerce continue to bleed. The latter lost 13,671 businesses in one year. Bakeries, fruit shops, butchers, hairdressers… The decline of small businesses is exacerbated by the pressure of costs and the drop in sales, an explosive combination which accelerates the flow of closures of establishments already started years ago, without this decline was accompanied by an urgent support plan. In the case of agriculture The loss of self-employed workers totaled 1,988 and the industry was left with 3,194 fewer self-employed workers in one year.

The attraction of services

But, overall, the jobs data is supporting the economy, which is always good news. The evolution of employment was very different in 2023 from that followed by unemployment, which in 2023 was halved compared to the previous year, according to data from the Ministry of Labor. In December there were 2,707,457 unemployed people in Spain after a drop in unemployment of 130,195 people, a figure that contrasts with the reduction of 268,252 in 2022 and 782,232 in 2021. The slowdown in the reduction of unemployment is also observed in data from December, the month in which it decreased by 27,375, far from the 43,727 of a year before or the 76,782 of 2021.

All sectors recorded a drop in unemployment in 2023, but especially the services sector (-81,333), followed by agriculture (-15,483) and industry (-17,731). Construction saw 13,339 fewer unemployed and the previously unemployed group -2,311.