Unemployment in Spain

Unemployment benefits are high enough in Spain to sustain basic expenses, though special consideration is only given to those in the first year of being unemployed. Those that are unemployed are at the risk of losing their home. According to research data by amnesty international, thousands of people are being forcibly evicted without alternative accommodation by the state. Amongst these include approximately 26,800 rental evictions and 17,000 mortgage evictions. As unemployment is increasingly high in Spain, there is limited public spending on housing that would grant necessary shelter. Women traditionally are not trained for the workforce; therefore single mothers and survivors of gender violence are particularly affected. This is however changing with a rise of women enrolling in higher education. Recently in July, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights upheld a complaint against Spain for not having means of alternative housing for evicted families. Due to high unemployment levels, employed workers are afraid of losing their jobs and are more reluctant to refute existing working conditions. There are reforms being undertaken by the government in Spain to address this, including reduction of temporary work contracts.

Unemployment reduces household income and therefore domestic consumption and quality of life. The mental health of the unemployed and their families deteriorates. The emancipation period is extended and therefore the birth rate decreases as it is difficult to start a family with minimal economic guarantees. Social exclusion is triggered, evictions increase, and families start to default on bills for basic utilities such as water, electricity and gas, leading to energy poverty.

There are efforts in Spain to include people with disabilities into the workforce. These efforts include a plan to normalize disability in the work environment with training and professional development implementation. According to the survey of the Spanish National Statistics Institute, 8.5% of the population in Spain is disabled. Disability is more associated with age, as more than 34.7% disabled individuals are over 65. According to data, there are more women disabled than men. In general, disabled people have difficulties carrying out basic activities and due to these hardships many people argue that government and economic help is imperative. One of the main problems the disabled population faces is unemployment. More than 87.1% of disabled people that are able to work don’t have a job, and they often have difficulty finding one due to labor market barriers. Some factors addressing unemployment amongst the disabled include insufficient education, lack of information, negative attitude amongst some employers and HR representatives, and insufficient means of transportation or training. As there are measures being taken to promote employment amongst the disabled, there is growth in the number of disabled seeking a job. One measure is the Law for Disabled People’s Social Integration, which requires companies with more than 50% workers to employ at least 2% disabled workers.

International impact
The dramatic unemployment in Spain and its consequence make the headlines in Spain and internationally.