Wednesday, May 18

Unemployment returns to pre-pandemic levels, but becomes chronic with more long-term unemployed

Spain today has fewer unemployed people than before the pandemic, but when the data is looked at in detail, some worrying figures are observed. Long-term unemployment, that which exceeds one year, and especially long-term unemployment, which extends beyond four years, are above the records prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus. There is therefore a chronic unemployment, especially in some territories of Spain, for which CCOO has claimed to review the policies for this group.

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The union has published its latest report on the ‘Labor market and social protection’, corresponding to the second half of 2021. The study reports a faster recovery of the labor market due to the pandemic compared to other crises in the past, which has meant a return to the number of workers and the number of unemployed for months. “In the last quarter of the year the unemployment rate was 13.3%, the lowest since the end of 2008”, underlines CCOO.

An improvement in employment that the union attributes above all to the ERTE, the star tool to ‘hibernate’ hundreds of thousands of jobs during this crisis. But, even taking into account the recovery, CCOO recalls the high number of unemployed people in Spain since before the pandemic and, specifically, the problem of long-term unemployment, which is defined as one that lasts for more than a anus.

100,000 long-term unemployed more

According to the active population survey (EPA), at the end of the year prior to the pandemic (2019) there were almost 1.4 million people in this situation of long-term unemployment, after several years in which this had been reduced. data progressively. At the end of 2021, the number of people unemployed for more than a year stood at around 1.5 million unemployed. 100,000 more people.

In relative terms, almost half of unemployed people, 48%, are long-term unemployed. This prolonged jobless situation is not only unfavorable because there are people who want to work and cannot, but also because the social protection they have is diminishing over time. At the end of 2021, 35% of unemployed people did not receive benefits, some of them for exhausting their right to protection and others for not having contributed enough to access it.

These data explain some other realities that are more than worrying, such as the very high percentage of unemployed people who live below the poverty line. Almost half of the total before the pandemic.

But it is that one in five unemployed people, 20%, is affected by very long-term unemployment, one in which people have been unemployed for more than four years. In December 2021, this affected 628,062 people, according to data from the Public Employment Service (SEPE) provided to the CCOO, while at the end of 2019 it affected 581,853 people. In relative terms, this very long-term unemployment stood at 18% before the pandemic.

Review measures against structural unemployment

“A good part of the active population faces the risk of structural unemployment. Measures are needed to address this problem, education, training, financing for the reconversion of these people and enable their return to work, “considers CCOO.

The report points to several sources where long-term unemployment affects the most, such as among women: they account for almost 60% of the total and 65% of the people affected by very long-term unemployment (more than four years). Also of the elderly, since 40% of the long-term unemployed are over 50 years old. Among those who have been unemployed for more than four years, 74% exceed this age.

The union asks the Government to reconsider the policies applied so far. “It does not seem that the plans put in place for these people, such as the Reincorpora-T to prevent and reduce long-term unemployment, have had the expected effectiveness, in addition to the fact that its validity has ended and its continuity is not planned,” he points out. the study presented a few days ago by Carlos Bravo, secretary of Public Policies and Social Protection of the CCOO, and Hortensia García, a technician from the secretariat, in Madrid.

The report indicates that in seven territories the long-term unemployment rate exceeds the average of 48%, “with Ceuta (66.8%) and Melilla (60.1%) in the lead, followed by Asturias (59.3%). ) and the Canary Islands (58.5%)”.