The Active Population Survey (EPA) for the third quarter of 2022 confirms the trend towards a slowdown in job creation and an increase in unemployment that began in the previous quarter. This dynamic will be accentuated in the short-medium term horizon. The causes are clear: the accelerated deterioration of the national economic situation and the effects of both the macro and micro policies deployed by the Government and its labor counter-reform.
The repeated government thesis on the good behavior of the labor market since the end of the pandemic cannot hide the reality derived from its enormous structural deficiencies, aggravated by the measures introduced by Mrs. Yolanda Díaz.
The main and declared The objective of the labor counter-reform was to reduce/end temporary employment, resource of unscrupulous businessmen determined to bleed the suffering worker to satisfy their insatiable desire for profit. At first glance, that goal would seem to have been achieved: the figures for permanent employment have increased and those for temporary employment have decreased.
However, this statement, sanctified by conventional wisdom and government propaganda, needs to be qualified. The bulk of this growth has been led by the part time hiring and the biggest drop has been registered by full-time temporary contracts. That does not produce any positive change for the workers; on the contrary. But the story does not end there.
In the segment of permanent employees, more than 30% of the employment generated is fixed-discontinuous, which is the modern way orwellian of calling the storms, but with enormous utility for the Government: their holders do not count as unemployed when de facto they arealthough, yes, they receive unemployment benefits.
In addition, this statistical and semantic device serves to make it difficult to produce a homogeneous comparison with what happened in previous years, which contributes to make it difficult to analyze the real situation of the labor market and sell a false image of job stability.
Among the successes of the government strategy, one very relevant one must be recognized: the evolution of the number of hours worked. These they have not recovered the existing level in 2019 which was already the lowest in its history. Now people work, on average, almost 10% less in Spain. Someone could argue that this is a consequence of the greater productivity of the labor factor and, therefore, it is something positive or to see their prejudices reaffirmed about the loss of fondness for “curre”, pardon the casticism, of the Spanish.
“Productivity has contracted since 2019 and has never been this low since 1999”
However, the reality is different. Productivity has contracted since 2019 and has never been this low since 1999 and Spaniards do not work less hours by their will, for enjoying leisure or for lack of desire, but because the rigidities introduced by the labor counter-reform and the increase in that tax on employment, which are social contributions, discourage the demand for permanent and full-time labor. This also translates into lower income and also explains the high volume of moonlighting collected in the EPA under the graceful rubric of Employed with secondary employmentwhich is about half a million people.
And what about unemployment? As Spain heads towards the end of this dramatic legislature, the unemployment rate, 12.67%, doubles the existing average of the EU6%, and exceeds that of that modern, dynamic, innovative economy, the Greek, which stands at 12.2%.
Why talk about youth or long-term unemployment that lead all the records of the Eurozone, the EU and the OECD. This is the sad truth and it is quite ironic, an exercise in black humor, if not to say, in bad taste and with little sensitivity for the Government to take advantage of this lackluster balance sheet.
It is quite ridiculous to have to analyze the obvious as if it were an extraordinary discovery, but, unfortunately, this is the situation in Spain this fall of 2022.
The funny thing, to say the least, is that the corypheos of government policy in a few months will assume the factsas they have had to recognize the persistence of inflation.
This should also give pause to those, for example the CEOE, who incomprehensibly gave their support to a labor counter-reform incompatible with the needs of the Spanish economy and with those of companies. It is wise to rectify, but here nobody recognizes their mistakes and tries to turn them into successes afterwards.
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