Spain went back above the four million jobseeker mark in February, for the first time since 2016, under the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ministry of Employment.
This increase is due to the impact "
of the severe restrictions imposed to fight against the third wave of the pandemic
", assures the ministry in a press release.
The number of job seekers at the end of February stood at 4,008,789 people, nearly 45,000 more than in January, the vast majority in services, the sector most affected by the closures of bars and restaurants as well as curfews introduced by the different regions.
This number had not exceeded four million since April 2016.
The method of calculating the number of job seekers, published by the government, differs from the number of unemployed calculated by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), whose data refer.
This number of unemployed reached 3.7 million people at the end of December, or 16.1% of the working population according to the INE.
Neither the INE nor the ministry take into account in their data the short-time workers, who were still 755,000 at the end of December, in particular in tourism and hotels.
In February, the number of job seekers also increased in agriculture (+6,174 people), but fell in construction (-5,116 people).
It has remained almost stable in the industry.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Spanish state has disbursed around 40 billion euros to finance partial unemployment plans and aid for self-employed workers, according to left-wing head of government Pedro Sanchez.
Spain saw its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) collapse by 11% in 2020 over one year, one of the worst results of the euro zone for this country very dependent on tourism.