Oviedo (EFE).- Last year Asturias was the autonomous community that increased unemployment the most in relative terms, 45.3 percent, while it was also the one that reduced employment the most, 3.81 percent, as reflected in the Active Population Survey (EPA) published this Thursday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
Specifically, the Principality closed 2022 with 20,000 more unemployed than at the beginning of the year, bringing the number of unemployed to 64,100, and with 15,100 less employed, up to 381,400.
With this evolution, the unemployment rate rose in the community at the end of the year to 14.39 percent of the active population, from 12.81 percent in the previous quarter or the 10 percent with which it closed 2021, and remained above the national average of 12.87 percent.
Only in the fourth quarter of the year, unemployment rose in Asturias by 7,600 people compared to the previous quarter, representing an increase of 13.4 percent, the fourth largest increase among the autonomous communities.
In addition, the community lost 3,400 employed persons in the last three months of the year, 0.87 percent, to bring the number of workers to 381,400.
For its part, the active population (people aged 16 or over who are working or looking for a job) rose by 4,200 people in the fourth quarter and by 4,900 in the year as a whole, up to 445,500 people.
Asturias, the community with the lowest activity rate
Asturias once again closed the year as the autonomous community with the lowest activity rate in the country, 50.45 percent, some eight points below the national average (58.52%).
Unemployment increased among men by 10,600 unemployed, up to 33,000, while among women it did so by 9,400, up to 31,100.
With this, the unemployment rate rose throughout the year from 10.39 percent for women and 9.67 percent for men to 14.39 percent in both cases, while in the case of minors 25-year-olds shot up from 10.43 to 47.53 percent.
The Principality and FADE ask for caution
The Government of the Principality has admitted that the reality reflected by the EPA “is not favourable”, although it has stressed that the very configuration of the survey, with strong quarterly oscillations in small communities with a small sample size, advises comparing homogeneous periods and take into account the evolution of the average series “to have a more approximate x-ray of the reality of the labor market.”
According to these average series, regional unemployment stood, on average, at 55,600 people throughout the past year, the lowest level in 14 years, while the unemployment rate was limited to 12.63 percent.
The Asturian Federation of Businessmen (FADE) has also advocated prudence in the face of the “disturbances” that the EPA reflects on occasions, although it has admitted its “deep concern” about the trend of increasing unemployment.
In this context, the director of Corporate Support of the Asturian employers’ association, Ignacio García, has claimed “the reinforcement of all measures that encourage economic activity and the creation of truly structural employment”
The unions demand shock measures
The secretary of Trade Union Policy of the UGT of Asturias, Mar Celemín, has warned of the “symptoms of weakness” in the Asturian labor market, in “a trend contrary to the national one.”
For this reason, it has insisted on the need to strengthen active employment policies to boost the labor market and give support to the groups with the greatest difficulties, such as women, young people and the long-term unemployed, while at the same time it has once again demand the rise in wages to ensure that workers maintain their purchasing power and can face escalating inflation.
For his part, the head of Employment of the CCOO of Asturias, Severino Menéndez, has considered that the EPA reflects a “bleak scenario” with “unmitigated bad data.”
The union leader has urged the implementation of a shock plan in terms of employment for young people, women and people over 45 years of age, and has insisted on the need to “strengthen the fight against poverty and vulnerability”.
Some political groups have also expressed their concern about the EPA data, which, like the unions, have called for a reconsideration of active employment policies and the implementation of shock measures.
In Spain unemployment falls and employment rises throughout the year
In the country as a whole, unemployment increased in the fourth quarter by 43,800 unemployed, 1.47 percent, to 3,024,000, while employment fell by 81,900 workers, 0.4 percent, to 20,463,900.
However, in the year as a whole, unemployment fell by 79,900 people, 2.57 percent, while employment rose by 278,900 workers, 1.38 percent, to 20.46 million employed. EFE