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Rajoy highlighted the importance of combating youth unemployment

While speaking at the 2nd International Forum on Public Employment Policies, the PRIME Minister Mariano Rajoy said that the structural reforms and the "enormous effort" made by Spanish society as a whole have managed to achieve a cycle change in the labour market and the start of net job creation.

Based on the data from the Labour Force Survey (EPA) for the second quarter of 2014, Rajoy stressed that the Spanish economy has created 402,400 jobs in the last three months – the highest increase in employment in a single quarter since 2005.

"You can rest assured that I have been waiting a long time – since I took office as President of the Government, – to be able to give you news such as this that am giving you here today", he said at the official opening of the Forum, which was held in Madrid on 24 and 25 July, and attended by high-ranking officials from almost 50 countries as well as national and international experts.

When considering the recent figures, added the President of the Government, the EPA data "confirm that this improvement in the Spanish labour market is not a temporary phenomenon but rather structural in nature, and that the efforts made by the Spanish people as a whole and the reforms by the Government of Spain are producing results". The relationship between economic activity and employment, he said, "is currently the best it has ever been in the history of Spain" given that "net employment has never been created with low levels of economic growth. We have stopped the rot", he said.

The President of the Government underlined three major aspects of the growth in employment: the increase in permanent employment by 180,200, the highest in a second quarter of the year since 2007; the increase in private employment, with 393,500 more people in work than in the first quarter of the year; and the growth in full-time employment by 304,400.

As regards unemployment, this figure has fallen by 310,400 in the last three months, "an unprecedented reduction in the records kept by the Spanish National Statistics Institute", said Mariano Rajoy. When compared with the same period last year, the number of unemployed has fallen by 424,500. "We have managed to stop the rot: unemployment has gone from an increase of 12.5% when we approved the labour reform to a reduction of 7% in this second quarter of the year", he said.

Rajoy believes these "are positive figures" but "with an unemployment rate that is still over 24% of our labour force – over 50% among our young people, there is still a lot more to be done". He argued that this task falls on the public authorities, business leaders, workers and the social stakeholders, whom he encouraged to renew the collective bargaining agreement they approved two years ago and that "has been tremendously useful" in combating unemployment.

As regards the Government of Spain, he explained that it will continue working on the labour market reforms – especially in terms of the active employment policies – with such measures as the Annual Employment Plans and the Spanish Activation Strategy 2014-2016, the Employment and Self-Employment Portal – which is already offering 85,000 jobs – and a new regulatory framework for Vocational Training as a means to improve the employability of workers and the competitiveness of companies, which will be available "soon".

The Prime Minister believes that "one of the best ways to know a society is to ask oneself what opportunities it offers to its citizens, how it treats those in the worst situation and how it tries to include those who have been excluded". Offering job opportunities to those who seek work will continue to be the priority for the Government of Spain "because the impact of the crisis on unemployment has helped us see, more clearly than ever, that employment is the social policy par excellence, the veritable backbone, of our welfare system", he said.

In this regard, Rajoy highlighted the importance of combating youth unemployment, putting an end to duality in the labour market, fostering equality between men and women at work and offering "new incentives to those at risk of being excluded".

"A society cannot be truly more prosperous if it is not a fairer society, a country cannot progress if its citizens are not progressing, and this magnificent future project that is Spain will only succeed if it is one on which we all work together, pulling in the same direction", he concluded.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44447/

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