Technical Analysis of Unemployment in Spain in 2024

by Anna Tañà

Unemployment in Spain has been a central issue in the country’s economic and social policies. In 2024, unemployment data reflects a series of complex dynamics that require thorough analysis to understand current and future trends in the Spanish labor market.

Evolution of Unemployment Rates

In the first quarter of 2024, the unemployment rate in Spain stood at 13.1%, according to data provided by the National Statistics Institute (INE). This figure represents a slight decrease compared to the same period last year, when the unemployment rate was 13.6%. This downward trend has been consistent in recent years, although the pace of improvement has been moderate.

Unemployment by Sectors

A sectoral analysis of unemployment reveals significant disparities. The services sector, which constitutes the backbone of the Spanish economy, has seen a notable reduction in the number of unemployed, partly due to the recovery of tourism and increased domestic consumption. However, sectors such as construction and manufacturing still face significant challenges, with unemployment rates higher than the national average.


  • Tourism and Hospitality: The post-pandemic revival of tourism has been a key factor in reducing unemployment in this sector. The unemployment rate decreased to 9.4% in the first quarter of 2024, from 11.2% in the same period in 2023.
  • Retail: Improved consumption has favored a reduction in unemployment in retail, with a rate of 8.7%, compared to 9.5% the previous year.


  • Manufacturing: The manufacturing industry continues to show signs of weakness, with an unemployment rate of 15.3%, a slight improvement from 16.0% in 2023, but still considerably high.
  • Construction: Construction faces an unemployment rate of 14.8%, reflecting the lack of large-scale infrastructure projects that could absorb the available workforce.

Youth Unemployment

Youth unemployment remains one of the most pressing issues in Spain. In 2024, the unemployment rate for those under 25 is 28.4%, an alarming figure although slightly lower than the 29.9% recorded in 2023. Policies on youth training and employment, along with hiring incentives, have had a positive impact, but there is still a long way to go to reach more sustainable levels.

Long-term Unemployment

Long-term unemployment continues to be a significant challenge. In 2024, approximately 40% of the unemployed have been out of work for over a year. This situation reflects the difficulty of reintegrating those who have lost skills or whose sector has undergone deep structural changes into the labor market.

Measures and Public Policies

The Spanish government has implemented a series of measures to combat unemployment. These include training and requalification programs, tax incentives for companies hiring long-term unemployed people, and initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Training and Requalification

Training programs have focused on emerging sectors such as technology and sustainability, aiming to equip the workforce with skills demanded in the current market. These initiatives are essential to reduce the mismatch between labor supply and demand.

Hiring Incentives

Companies that hire long-term unemployed people can benefit from reductions in social security contributions and other tax advantages. This approach seeks to facilitate the labor market reintegration of those who have been out of work for prolonged periods.

Promoting Entrepreneurship

Support for entrepreneurship includes access to financing, advice, and simplification of bureaucratic procedures for creating new companies. These measures are crucial for dynamizing the labor market and generating new employment opportunities.

Future Prospects

Looking ahead, it is essential to continue with active employment policies and adapt strategies to economic and technological changes. The transition to a green and digital economy offers significant opportunities, but also requires adequate workforce preparation.

Maintaining the downward trend in unemployment will largely depend on the country’s ability to attract investment, promote innovation, and improve education and professional training. Collaboration between the public and private sectors will be key to achieving a more inclusive and resilient labor market.

In summary, unemployment data in Spain in 2024 presents a picture of moderate but steady recovery. Despite persistent challenges, especially in youth and long-term unemployment, the measures adopted and positive trends in key sectors provide a solid foundation for cautious optimism.

Related publications