Employment contracts and unemployment
In a time of political uncertainty such as the present, one of the debates that becomes inevitable is the debate on unemployment and the influence that new policies have had on the contractual situation in Spain.
According to data as of December 2015 offered by the National Public Employment Service (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal or SEPE), 2015 showed an increase in hiring over 2014. In fact, in terms of totals (and including the conversion of temporary contracts to indefinite-term contracts), compared with 16,727,089 contracts in 2014, Spain increased the figure up to a total of 18,576,280 in 2015 (which is an increase of 11.06%, i.e., more than 1.8 million contracts), an increase that has been ongoing, since each month offered better figures than the same month of the previous year.
Given this panorama of contractual expansion, it is important to note that hiring increased much more often in the area of temporary contracts (17 million as compared with 15 million in 2014) than in the area of indefinite-term contracts (where the figure for 2015, including conversions, stands at 1.5 million as compared with 1.35 million in 2014).
In addition to all of the foregoing factors, regard must be had to the fact that unemployment at the end of 2015 was the lowest it had been since 2009, with a total of 4,093,508, in numbers practically identical to those recorded in 2010 (4,100,073).
The unemployment situation continues to reveal an employment market that is hardly homogeneous in terms of men and women. Thus, unemployment, which dropped a total of 7.60% over the previous year, went down 11.09% for men but only 4.50% for women.
By geographical location, unemployment again fluctuates in a very different way. Only in Ceuta did it increase by 0.25%. The reduction in unemployment is headed by La Rioja, with 13.69%, followed by Aragón (12.10%) and Cataluña (10.47%). On the tail end, other than the autonomous city already mentioned, we find Cantabria, with a drop of only 1.95% and Andalucía (4.63%).
Lastly, by industry, unemployment went down the most in Construction (16.54%), followed by Industry (13.19%) and Agriculture (8.70%). Last place is held by the Services industry, with a drop of 5.45%.
It is also important to note that unemployment, in terms of persons not previously employed, was reduced by 7.96%, reversing the trend of the previous year in which it rose by more than 2% (the only year of the last five in which it increased, with the exception of 2011, when it went up by 6.13%).
In conclusion, the panorama shows an increase in employment, but the following subjects are still pending (i) boosting indefinite-term employment relationships, (ii) increasing homogeneity in the hiring of men and women and (iii) strengthening job creation at a general level, in particular in the Autonomous Communities that have not yet been able to rally.
Ángel Olmedo Jiménez
Garrigues Labor and Employment Law Department