The Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF) has admitted this Wednesday that the unemployment rate in Spain is no longer reliable to know the reality of the labor market and has opted to use alternative measures that right now are “fundamental” and suggest that in Around 18% of the active population in the country is “underutilized”, that is, they want to work but cannot do so.

In total, there would be around 4.2 million people and this group includes the unemployed (3 million), the discouraged -people who want to work but, because they believe they will not find a job, do not look for a job-, those who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time or because they have other obligations -for example, care-, and those who are affected by an Employment Regulation File (ERE) or Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE).

“Traditional unemployment no longer reflects well the underemployed resources that exist in the country, it is necessary to resort to alternative sources that are fundamental. The unemployment rate is less and less representative of what we want to measure: which is the people who want to work and does not work”, sources from the institution chaired by Cristina Herrero have warned.

AIReF has also warned that, in continuation of a trend that began years ago, there is a drop in hours worked in the country. Specifically, the group of employees who work from 10 to 19 hours a week has grown considerably and that of those who work from 40 to 40 hours has fallen. This trend is mainly due to the increase in part-time employment, which began to grow after the financial crisis of 2008.

“It is a phenomenon that came from before due to the increase in part-time employment, both voluntary and forced. We should make an effort to better measure the hours worked because the only source we have is the EPA and it is a survey”, these have claimed sources.

After the labor reform, they have pointed out, a transition is taking place, so it is too soon to draw definitive conclusions. AIReF needs to analyze in detail how employment is evolving in the country.

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