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Economically Active Population Survey. Q1/2020

The employed population in Catalonia increased by 1.8% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2020 and stood at 3,451,200. In absolute numbers, the year-over-year increase is 60,200. In relation to the fourth quarter of 2019, there is a loss of 27,000 people employed (−0.8%). This figure does not include those affected by a temporary Lay-off with suspension of employment, given that, in accordance with the methodology used by the EPA, these are deemed to be employed persons so long as the duration of the suspension is less than three months.

By sectors, if employment is compared in year-over-year terms, the employed persons increased in services (73,000 people, 2.9%) and construction (6,500 people, 3.3%) while it decreased in industry (−16,700 people, −2.7%) and agriculture (−2,700 people, −5.4%). By sex, employment increased equally among men and women (1.8%). By ages, the greatest increase in employment compared with the previous year occurred in the population aged 55 and over (9.0%), followed by the population aged 16 to 24 (0.8%). According to the type of workday, part-time employment increased more than full-time employment (by 5.3% compared with 1.2%). Among the employed persons, by type of contract, permanent contracts grew by 2.0%, whereas temporary contracts fell by 0.5%.

The unemployment rate stood at 10.66%, with a total of 411,600 unemployed people (34,9000 fewer than the previous year). By sex, unemployment among men decreased by 10.2% year-over-year (with an unemployment rate off 9.94%), while among women it fell by 5.5% (with a rate of 11.44%). By ages, the decrease in unemployment was marked in the 55 and over age group (−18.8%), followed by the 16-24 age group (−8.8%) and the 25-54 year olds (−4.7%). In comparison with the previous quarter, the unemployed population grew by 5,800 people (1.4%). Nevertheless, it must be borne in mind that it is likely that many workers have been classified as inactive and not as unemployed, in view of the fact that the confinement and cessation of activities triggered by the declaration of the state of alarm has prevented them from fulfilling the conditions of the definition of unemployment used for the EPA of actively seeking and being available for work. In this regard, the inactive population in Catalonia rose by 31,500 people this quarter in comparison with the previous quarter (40,600 in the same period last year).

With regard to specific sectors, the employed persons in the cultural sector stood at 176,800 people (5.1% of total employment) and decrease by 1.6% year-over-year and by 0.6% compared with the previous quarter. By sex, the cultural sector employed 106,600 men and 70,200 women.

In the tourism sector, the number of employed persons is 461,200, a figure which accounts for 13.4% of the total employment. This figure means an increase of 5.0% compared with the first quarter of 2019, but a decrease of 2.1% if compared with the fourth quarter of 2019. By sex, this sector employed 266,200 men and 195,100 women.

The ICT sector employed 115,300 people in the first quarter of 2020 (8.3% more than one year ago and 0.9% more than the previous quarter) and accounted for 3.3% of the total employment rate.

The Active Population Survey involves research by means of continuous sampling and is carried out on a quarterly basis. In view of the even distribution of the interviews throughout the quarter, it is considered that the quarterly results of the EPA refer to an average week thereof. In this regard, the changes in the labour market attributable to the coming into force of Royal Decree 463/2020, of 14 March, which declared the state of alarm for the management of the health crisis situation due to COVID-19, have a limited impact on the data for this quarter, as they only affect the surveys conducted from that date.