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economics, labour reform, Politics

Growth? With dole queues growing again, very few in Spain will notice

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, under whose tenure unemployment jumped to a record high of 6 million people out of work, has made job creation the centrepiece of his campaign for re-election campaign later this year. But in contrast to positive growth signals, the latest jobs figures confirm a catastrophic record, argues Vicente Clavero

For as much as Spain’s government tries to pretend otherwise, its record on jobs remains catastrophic. Data from the latest Labour Force Survey (EPA), published this week, are conclusive. In late March 17,458,800 people were employed, compared with 18,153,000 at the beginning of the legislature. That means that since the arrival of Mariano Rajoy to power in December 2011, 694,200 jobs have disappeared.

And it cannot even be argued that the trend in the labour market has changed, because in the first quarter of 2015 jobs were again lost. During this period, no less than 114,500 people joined the dole queues, and if the queues are not longer it is because people have exited the labour market all together. And this due to an ever more widespread lack of hope among the population in finding stable and dignified employment*

It’s not just that under Rajoy almost 700,000 (net) jobs have evapourated, but there has been a clear worsening in the quality of employment. Today there are 1,082,200 less full-time workers and 384,000 part-time more than three years ago. A change that is nothing to do with choice because the figures show an increasing number of employed people seeking more work.

If the balance sheet of the legislature is bad, for young people the picture is even worse. The last official jobs figures (EPA) of 2011 showed 5,505,600 employed between the age of 20 and 34 years. However, in the first quarter of 2015 there were 4,487,000; that is, a good million less. Underemployment – in the sense of being overqualified for a particular job – among the youth is also rife. There are 715,300 graduates with a job that requires lower qualifications than the actual post holder.

The devastating effects of the policies implemented by Rajoy’s right-wing Popular Party have been felt in both the private sector and the public sector. And proportionally worse in the public sector. Since Rajoy arrived at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, 420,200 employees have lost jobs in the private sector (2.8%) and 278,000 (8.5%) in the public sector EPA statistics show.

For those who wish to cut the state down to the bone, this is probably not enough. But these figures show that people have fared badly under the Popular Party wherever they work. Not to mention the wage devaluation and additional sacrifices imposed by bosses on workers who have not wished to risk being thrown out into the street.

*Which hasn’t stopped the EU demanding more of the same labour reforms that have underpinned the casualisation and destruction of Spain’s jobs http://www.publico.es/economia/eurogrupo-erre-erre-pide-espana.html]

Translation/edit  by Revolting Europe

El Publico

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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