The Spanish “part-time” recovery

By | May 11, 2015

Spain’s economic data lost all credibility once the local bureau of economics, statistics and other goalseeked numbers decided to arbitrarily start adding what it estimated was the “contribution” from not only local drug dealers but also hookers. No surprise then that the government has proudly declared quarter after quarter that Spain is one of Europe’s most boom economies. And yet, while the GDP data was clearly fabricated, Spain’s job numbers did seem impressive. And then we looked at the following chart of full-time versus part-time Spanish workers, and it all quickly fell into place.

Courtesy of Stratfor, here is how Spain is desperately seeking to recreate America’s part-time recovery, although unlike the US which has Obamacare to thank that 8 years after the start of the depression, full-time jobs still have to surpass their prior peak, it is not quite clear why Spain which boast almost daily of the strength of its economy is stuck in the same “part-time” rut.

Six years into the economic crisis, the Spanish economy is finally seeing some decent growth. During the first quarter of the year, Spain’s gross domestic product grew by 0.9 percent and, as Madrid recently said, it expects annual growth to be close to 3 percent. The country has also seen a drop in its unemployment rate, with Eurostat reporting 25.1 percent a year ago and 23 percent in March. Although the next government in Madrid will be met with a slightly improved macroeconomic situation, abnormally high unemployment rates and a rise in part-time and temporary positions will continue to threaten the country’s economic recovery, and decision-making will become more complex as the year progresses.

Many Spaniards are afflicted by precarious and temporary employment. According to official figures, only one in 10 work contracts signed in March were for permanent positions. The number of temporary contracts is growing twice as fast as permanent contracts. During the first quarter of 2015, the number of people working on temporary contracts grew 5.42 percent year-on-year, while the number of permanent contracts grew only 2.71 percent.

Spain is also experiencing a rise in part-time jobs. During the first quarter, the number of people working full-time jobs grew 2.91 percent year-on-year, while the number of people working part-time jobs grew 3.83 percent. Almost two in 10 workers in Spain work less than 35 hours a week. This is not unusual in Europe, with countries such as the Netherlands having higher part-time work rates. However, the situation in Spain is not by choice, and most part-time workers would prefer a full-time position.

Statistics from Spain’s Ministry of Employment also reveal the three most common jobs held in the first quarter of 2015 were agricultural laborers, waiters and cleaners. In April, the month tourism season begins in Spain, almost half the new jobs were in hotels — mostly contractual positions set to end later in the year.

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  1. Pingback: La recuperación a tiempo parcial española (ENG)

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