The Aragonese lose purchasing power. The CPI (Consumer Price Index) rises, however, the salary increase does not do so at the same rate. In 2021, this indicator grew by 3.1% on average compared to 2020 and salaries only grew by 1.5%. It represents the worst balance of the last decade. In 2011 the Index gained momentum (3.2%), however, remuneration also (2.3%).
During the past year, according to the report ‘Analysis of the labor market in Aragon in 2021 and perspectives for 2022’ prepared by UGT, “practically” all the jobs lost during 2020 were recovered. The truth is that the jobs of the first year of the pandemic have been rescued, however, it has not grown by 2% per year, as it was being done in the years before the covid. As for unemployment, “2021 has been a good year”, with 22,700 fewer unemployed, a figure that has favored women more due to the recovery of services. Long-term unemployment has fallen from 60 to 40%.
According to the report, the Aragonese economy still bears the scars of the 2008 financial crisis and there are 42,000 jobs – which were at the end of 2007 – that have not yet been restored. In any case, from the union they insist that thanks to the response they have come out of the crisis more “quickly” than in 2008. Specifically, the general secretary of UGT Aragón, Daniel Alastuey, has referred to the importance of the Reform Labor, the ERTE and the rise in the SMI for economic recovery.
The labor reform already registers its first positive data regarding the temporary nature of the contracts. Only 9.85% of Aragonese (10.63% of men and 9.76% of women) had a permanent contract in 2021. This year, and despite the fact that the law is not in full force because there is an adaptation period until April, in January the percentage rose to 15% and in February to 21%. In addition, from the union they point out that the rise in the SMI (Minimum Interprofessional Salary) has helped “to dignify the lowest wages.” Specifically, it has been raised to 60% of the minimum wage.
According to the report, in Aragon there is a balance between the percentage of the population that earns low, medium and high salaries. In Aragon, 16% earn less than SMI (these are people who do not work full time), is four points less than the national average, which stands at 20%. In the Community, 52.29% receive between 100% and 200% of the SMI, 21.93% between 200% and 300% and 5.72% more than 300%.
during the pandemic
The economic sectors that have grown the most in 2021 are the ones that lost the most in 2020. Commerce and hospitality are the economic sectors that have suffered the most from covid and therefore have had fluctuations in employment. During the last two years, 25,000 jobs have been lost and only 10,000 have been recovered. Industry is another field where work has also been lost (8,000 jobs). At the opposite extreme are construction, public services and business support services.
UGT believes that the ERTE (Temporary Employment Regulation File) have saved “a large number” of jobs. In April 2020, 98,934 Aragonese were in ERTE and in December, the figure stood at 1,206.
“Right now the most urgent task of the economy is to be able to channel all the funds towards the most productive projects” and linked to digitization, the change in the energy model and social cohesion. “These funds can serve to significantly change the Spanish market and to create jobs,” said Alastuey, adding that with digitization, less labor will be needed to produce the same thing, so “it is time to open the debate by way of work sharing.
In the case of Aragon, he has recommended promoting VET, as well as the orientation of students and families so that they make “appropriate decisions”, he added, also betting on continuous training and the recognition of qualifications.