Employment in the state of Alicante has rebounded quickly and strongly after the hardest moments of the pandemic, but all that shines is not gold. And the improvement of the numbers depending on the sectors is uneven. The most striking example is the state of the industry. currently has 5% fewer employees than in 2019precisely because of influencing factors, such as the increase in energy costs and raw materials, and the uncertainty that has burdened the economy at the international level. Agriculture suffers from the same problem, in this case 25% fewer workers is something to be attributed to the blockade and bad harvests in European markets as a result of the war in Ukraine. produced by different meteorological events. Construction and services offer higher occupancy rates than before the health crisis broke out, thanks to the good pace of home sales and the revival of tourism.
The latest data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Industry of the province of Alicante currently brings together 121,400 workersIt represents a 21% improvement compared to 2021, but still 5% below 2019. There are various reasons, especially inflation, that affect the fact that this deficit continues to be registered. As Marián Cano, president of the Valencian Footwear Entrepreneurs Association (Avecal), recalls, “Our industry was one of the industries most affected by the restrictions in the pandemic, causing a sharp drop in occupancy levels”. Since then, the road has not been easy because, “We had to face problems such as rising costs and the economic uncertainty that still exists. All this has caused our companies to lose their competitiveness, which slows job creation.“.
Luis Rodríguez, President of the Alicante State Federation of Metal Companies (Fempa), emphasizes in similar terms that “we are still going through adjustments and although there are companies that have done their part”. jump on the caravan of innovation and technology, there are others that continue to lag behind”. In this context, one of the factors affecting employment is “ Lack of specialized workforce to cover some branches of activityemphasizing the importance of influencing education”.
Pepe Serna, president of the Valencia Community Textile Entrepreneurs Association (Ateval), puts special emphasis on the sharp increases in energy costs for companies, especially those in the finishing sub-sector. paralyzing some production lines and forcing submission of Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ERTE). Therefore, remember The government is requested to include the sector among the beneficiaries of the aid provided for this purpose..
Agriculture lags behind in terms of employment, as it is now, compared to 2019. 18,700 workers in the whole provincethe same amount as last year, but 25% less than before the crisis. As a result, José Vicente Andreu, president of Asaja Alicante, distinguishes the epidemic from this setback. In his words, “we were one of the few activities that were successful during covid because they saw us as a strategic industry.”
He explains that the lower occupancy level is related to two new problems. First of all, the Ukraine war, which led to the cultivation of citrus fruits grown in countries such as Turkey for the Russian market, resulted in their entry into Europe due to the trade embargo. A saturation punishing Alicante producers. Another reason Andreu highlighted was bad harvests caused by meteorological events such as abundant spring rains. “All this,” he complains, “has led to a reduction in the need for labor.”
The other side is experienced with construction and services.. In the first case, the current number of workers is 62,300, which represents an increase of 28% compared to 2021 and 10% compared to 2019, as a result of sluggish demand for housing, as well as particularly attracting buyers. Tourism driven services by foreign customers amount to 610,400 employees, with an increase of 5% compared to the previous year and 4% compared to pre-covid.
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