Sunday 16th October 2022 · Mike Smith
Source: La Marina Plaza
Unemployment in the Marina Alta rose in September as the summer season drew to a close, clearly demonstrating the seasonal nature of job opportunities in the region. However, the increase is cushioned slightly by the increase in firing in the education centre as schools and other education centre re-open after the summer break.
September has never been a good month for employment but, despite the fact that the Marina Alta suffered a higher percentage increase in job seekers compared to the rest of the Province of Alicante and, indeed, the rest of the Comunidad Valenciana, it is when the data in seasonally adjusted that the month was not so bad when compared to the same month in previous years.
According to CREAMA’s Marina Alta Platform, unemployment figures in the Marina Alta last month were the lowest for September in a decade with 9,486 looking for a job, although there is a clear extraordinary exception for September 2021 which, despite unemployment increasing, it did so to a lesser extent due to 2021 being a year of full economic recovery after the toughest months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thus, the increase in typical unemployment in the month of September was 2.2% when compared to the previous quarter and it remains to be seen how the economy evolves and the impact of the job market in the face of the current uncertain political and international landscape.
In addition, there is further uncertainty after the approval by central government of the general budgets for 2023 before the publication of the economic forecasts by Banco de España. With inflation at 5.6%, economic growth is 70% less (1.4%) than forecast by the Government (2.2%).
With regards to the number of people signed up to Seguridad Social, last month saw a second consecutive month of decline as the figure fell by 2,248 people to 60,022, a drop of 3.6% compared to August.
When compared to the figures for both the province and the Valencian region as a whole, the Marina Alta comes out badly, since social security affiliations increased by more than 1.5% at both levels compared to August.
Of course, this data must be assessed in context since September has always been a negative month as the summer season draws to a close and businesses in the hospitality sector scale back their staffing levels. If a positive can be found, it is that the figure for September 2022 is clearly better that the same month in 2021 and 2020.
The year-on-year variation in employment stood at 5.44% in September, which translates into positive annual growth and when compared the historical data, it can be seen that there is fairly high growth, an equivalent increase in the number of people affiliated to Social Security in the last year of 3,098. And when compared to the difficult year of 2020, the improvement can be doubled, with a percentage increase of 11.18% and a total of 6,038 more affiliated people.
As for the number of people seeking employment, this figure rose by 404 in September, compared to August, the lowest monthly increase since November 2020 and the lowest in September for some time – with the exception of September 2021, an extraordinary month as the local economy recovered after the difficult months of the pandemic. In percentage terms, unemployment increased by 4.45% in September 2022, far less than in the same month in the years previous to the global health crisis when it rose by around 7%.
As usual, more women than men were registered as unemployed during September – 5,497 (57.95%) compared to 3,989 (42.05%) – but when considered in percentage terms year-on-year, the increase for women is much lower than for men although it is clear that the proportion of unemployment men has decreased notably more than for women in the last year.
Unemployment by Sector
The Services Sector saw the greatest decrease in job availability in September and unemployment rose by 388 to 7,289, an increase of 5.62% which reflects the scaling down of staffing levels in the hospitality sector as the high summer season drew to a close.
The Industry Sector saw an increase in job seekers of 6.41% with 498 affiliated to this sector seeking employment whilst those affiliated to the Agricultural Sector and seeking a job rose by 3.68% (six people) to 169. The Construction Sector was the only activity that saw the number of job seekers fall – 1.72% to 1,141.
When compared the number of job seekers in September 2021, the year-on-year variation is still positive because there are 2,637 fewer people seeking a job in the region, a decrease of 21.75%. The Agricultural Sector has the greatest drop in unemployed over the last year – 27.16% – followed by the Construction Sector (25.91%). And, despite leading the increase in employment and the highest absolute fall in job seekers, the Services Sector saw its year-on-year percentage variation drop by 19.88%.
Overall, the unemployment rate for the Marina Alta has increased very slightly by 0.9% to 13.65%.
The number of employment contracts rose by 0.45% compared to August, this slight increase due to the increase in permanent contracts (6.36%) whilst temporary contracts decreased by 8.33%, again reflecting the seasonal nature of the job vacancies in a region that relies heavily of summer tourism. The fact that more permanent contracts were signed during the month is optimistic. After the labour reform of January 2022, indefinite contracts have been rising consistently and during September 67.25% of all contracts that were signed were permanent and almost half were for full-time employment; during the four months of summer, only 40% were full-time.