MADRID | Spain has seen its unemployment rate, already high, increase to 14.4 % of the active population in the first quarter, due to the impact of the pandemic of sars coronavirus, according to figures released Tuesday by the national statistics Institute (INE).
At the end of December, unemployment was 13.8 per cent, the worst score in the euro zone after Greece.
The destruction of jobs in the first quarter is particularly strong in services, tourism, a pillar of the Spanish economy, being hit hard by the confinement decreed on 14 march.
The total number of unemployed reached 3,31 million people, an increase of 121 000 persons, but the INE points out that”it is likely that many employees who have lost their jobs have been classified as “inactive”, as the conditions of the statistical survey usual has been disrupted by the containment.
The number of unemployed would be under-estimated, as the number of”inactive”, that is to say, persons not seeking employment, has increased by 257 500 during the first quarter.
The number of employed (having worked at least one hour during the reference week) is experiencing “its biggest fall since 2013,” with 285 600 work stations destroyed, says the INE.
But “this figure does not take into account the employees affected by a plan of partial unemployment,” considered as busy when the part-time unemployment is less than three months.
However according to the government, 3.9 million Spaniards are currently unemployed in part because of the containment decreed on 14 march.
At least 275 900 jobs have been lost in services, 9 100 in agriculture and 6 200 in the construction, details the INE.
The coalition government of the left of Pedro Sanchez has simplified the access to the plans of short-time work and prohibits dismissal during the duration of the confinement, hoping thus to mitigate the violent impact expected on employment.
The international monetary Fund (IMF) projected that the unemployment rate could jump to 20.8% in 2020 in Spain, while the Bank of Spain table on 18.3% to 21.7% of unemployment according to the duration of the confinement.