Spain has regained around 96% of all the jobs that were lost during the pandemic, the country’s employment minister said on Monday.
“From February of this year, which saw the peak of the third wave, 1.355 million jobs were created. These are figures that we’ve never seen before in our history,” Nadia Calvino said in an interview with Spanish broadcaster Cope.
Her statement comes on the heels of record-breaking September unemployment data released on Monday, which shows unemployment dropped by 76,113 people last month.
In Spain, due to the end of the summer tourism season, September has historically given rise to increased unemployment.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez applauded the “biggest drop in unemployment ever in September” and “seven straight months of consecutive drops in unemployment,” which, he said, “has not happened since the year 2000.”
Not including people in furlough, Spain has nearly returned to pre-pandemic employment levels in a matter of 20 months. After the 2008 financial crisis, it took the country around 12 years to recover the number of people in the workforce, according to data from Oxford Economics and the Government of Spain.
Yet, despite Spain’s quick bounce back from the pandemic, the country continues to grapple with one of the highest unemployment rates in the European Union.
According to Eurostat, unemployment in Spain was sitting at 14% in August – more than any other country, including Greece, and double the EU average. The same data also show Spain leading the EU in youth unemployment, which sat at 33%.