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Economy in Brief

Spain Employment Up 3.1% from Year Ago; Spanish Workers and Immigrants Both Gain
by Carol Stone October 26, 2007

Spain's National Institute of Statistics reported Q3 labor force data today. Their formal term is "Economically Active Population Survey" or EAPS. Employment in this survey rose 143,300 from Q2 to 20.511 million workers, up 3.1% from a year ago. There were notable gains in services, up 4.2% from Q3 2006, and construction, up 4.9%. Employment in industry (mining and manufacturing) is falling off gradually and stood a 3.26 million in Q3 compared to a peak of 3.32 million in Q4 2006. That sector had shown vigorous growth from 1997 through 2003 and has been basically on a plateau since then, so the current reductions would not seem to be a sign of weakness. Construction employment, in contrast, has been growing rapidly since 1997, an average rate of 7.5%; the 4.9% in Q3 is actually the "slowest" since Q4 2005. The service sector, too, has shown vigor, with growth at nearly a 5% pace since 1995.

The Q3 unemployment rate was steady at 8.0%. There was a modest rise in the number of people unemployed, 32,000 from Q1 and 26,000 from a year ago. Unemployment has been restrained, however, in view of a notable advance in the number of economically active population. This rose 175,000 in Q3 and is up 3.0% from Q3 2006. The participation rate stands at a record 59.1% of the population over age 16, up 0.2% from Q2 and 0.7% from a year ago.

Since 2005, the Spanish labor force data have been distinctive in breaking out Spanish nationals and foreign nationals explicitly. Immigrant workers are important in many countries, and it is really worthwhile to have the Spanish statisticians compile this information. Foreign nationals constitute just under 14% of employment in Spain, 2.846 million of the total 20.511 million; their working numbers grew 328,400 in Q3 from the year earlier, 13.0%. They have a high participation rate, 76.2% in Q3, but one assumes that they come to Spain from their home country in order to seek out job opportunities. Not all are successful; their unemployment rate is 11.8%, higher than the year-ago 10.8%, but off from a recent high in Q1 of 12.6%. The participation rate among Spaniards is 57.0%; this is also up 0.2% from Q2. Their unemployment rate is 7.4%; their employment grew 286,500 over the last year, 1.6%. These series by citizenship group are too short still to do much for any precise econometric analysis, but the differential pattern of the two groups may already be helping describe forces on wages and factors that will affect the further expansion of Spanish industry and markets.

All of these data are in Haver's SPAIN database, as well as G10. The SPAIN database includes "country-sourced" data. In G10, Haver combines summary data for a number of major countries. Our analysts compile some select ratios and conduct seasonal adjustment on some series where it seems warranted. In that database, Spain's employment is seen to be up 91,600 from Q2, and the unemployment rate up 0.2% to 8.2%.

SPAIN: "EAPS" Data, NSA Q3 2007 Q2 2007 Year Ago 2006 2005 2004
Total Employment, Millions 20.51 20.37 19.90 19.75 18.97 17.97
  Yr/Yr % Chg 3.1 3.4 3.7 4.1 5.6 3.9
Unemployment Rate (%) 8.0 8.0 8.2 8.5 9.1 11.0
Spanish Nationals, Millions 17.66 17.61 17.38 17.29 16.90 --
Participation Rate (%) 57.0 56.8 56.4 56.3 55.7 --
Foreign Nationals, Millions 2.84 2.75 2.52 2.46 2.07 --
Participation Rate (%) 76.2 76.0 77.1 77.1 75.5 --
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