January will close with a new growth in employment

The dynamism of the labour market of recent months continues and January will close, for the ninth consecutive month, with a new growth in employment, of around 66,000 affiliates.

According to the experimental statistics of fortnightly Social Security affiliation, this increase will set a new historical record for affiliation in terms of seasonality and calendar, with a level of 429,000 more workers than before the pandemic, according to data presented by the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá. The improvement compared to the data prior to the pandemic is almost 300,000 people, even without counting ERTE or self-employed workers with extraordinary benefits.

The increase of 66,000 affiliates with which the month of January is expected to close is a higher figure than the increase in average affiliation registered before the pandemic. It even exceeds the growth of 51,000 workers registered in January 2017, the best month of the years before the pandemic.

The growth in affiliation compared to the level prior to the pandemic is generalised by sectors, both in the private and public sectors, and also territorially, as highlighted by the Minister.

Specifically, the 429,000 more jobs compared to the level of February 2020 are distributed between +200,000 in the private sector and +229,000 in the public sector. Within the former, the sectors least affected by the restrictions have grown by some 255,000 jobs compared to the pre-pandemic level, highlighting the increase in sectors such as programming, consulting and other computer-related activities (+53,000), social service activities (+27,000) or services to buildings (+26,000). This behaviour contrasts with that of the sectors that have been most affected by the restrictions, which would still need to recover 55,000 jobs to return to the pre-pandemic level.

The growth in the public sector is especially concentrated in Health (+86,000) and Education (+59,000), two activities in which Spain was below the average of neighbouring countries.

Territorially, growth has also been generalised, as explained by Escrivá, highlighting that more than half of the provinces register an increase in employment of more than 2.2% compared to the level they had in February 2020, before the start of the pandemic.

In addition, “there has been not only a growth in employment, but also a relevant change in its composition”, according to the minister. In this sense, he underlined the strong increase in permanent employment, with 581,000 more affiliates than in February 2020, compared to the decrease in temporary employment (-126,000 compared to that date). “This good tone of indefinite employment is also seen in the month of January, when the increase in affiliates of this type in the first days of January is about 44,000 people, well above what has been usual in that period in other exercises”, he specified.

The dynamism shown by employment in recent months also has an impact on income from social contributions, which in 2021 will close with a new all-time high, above the previous record of 2019, both in absolute values ​​and as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Specifically, growth in 2021 is around 8% compared to last year, higher than expected, and 4.3% above the 2019 data.

Evolution of workers in ERTE

For its part, the number of workers in ERTE-COVID continues to decline, despite being at very low levels and the increase in incidence in recent weeks. Specifically, as of 13 January, the number of workers in ERTE-COVID was 100,761, approximately 0.66% of the affiliates. Of these, about half work part-time.

This type of ERTE continues with a large concentration in the sectors related to hospitality and tourism, to which almost half of the workers protected by this instrument belong.

In addition, almost 30,000 workers in this type of ERTE have already been confirmed to participate in training programs, which will allow 40% of workers who have the possibility of obtaining exemptions from social contributions to have them. And in this case, there is also a great concentration in three sectors: accommodation, food and beverages and travel agencies, which bring together 60% of the workers who will receive training.

Within the ERTE-COVID there is also a significant geographical concentration, with the islands being the only provinces in which the percentage of protected workers exceeds 1% of the affiliates.

For its part, in recent weeks there has been a significant decrease in ERTEs not linked to the pandemic (ETOP), currently standing at slightly above 8,000 workers, that is, 70% of the level they had in November. The reduction has occurred in the most affected sector, the manufacture of motor vehicles, and is also particularly noticeable in the provinces most linked to this activity, such as Navarra or Barcelona. These data show an improvement in supply chains.