Spain’s jobless figure for the month of January increased by 2.8 percent for a total of 90,248 unemployed individuals, while worker affiliation to Spain’s Social Security system fell 1.2 percent month-on-month from December figures to a total of 244,000.
Together, the figures marked the worst January showing for the Spanish labour market since 2013-14, when Spain began to emerge from nearly six years of economic crisis triggered by the 2008 global financial meltdown.
Spain’s right-wing opposition parties, led by the conservative Partido Popular (PP), immediately attacked the Socialist-led government of President Pedro Sánchez, claiming the policies of the first, brief government of Sánchez last year combined with the announced economic policies of the new Socialist-Unidas Podemos coalition government had sparked fears leading to the layoffs.
Sánchez government ministers countered Tuesday in the press conference following the weekly Council of Ministers meeting, with Finance Minister and government spokesperson María Jesús Montero calling on the PP to be more “rigorous” in its examination of the actual figures before launching into attacks on the government over its economic policies.
At the same press conference, Social Security Minister José Luis Escrivá told reporters that the increase in unemployment was partly due to seasonal fluctuations, including the negative impact that occurs year of layoffs at the end of the Christmas shopping seasons, accompanied by a greater than usual falloff in employment in the retail and hospitality sectors.
Escrivá also noted the impact of the severe storms during January on seasonal agricultural activity, which he said contributed to a drop of 15,317 workers affiliated to the Social Security system within the special agricultural regime for worker contributions.
Even so, analysts said the numbers for January were not good news for the government, heralding what cold well be poorer than expected performance for the Spanish economy during the first quarter of the year.
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