Posted: Saturday May 15, 2021 6:33 AM
Youth frustration, lack of confidence in the political class and the ravages of the economic crisis were some of the ingredients that triggered the pressure cooker of Spanish youth just ten years ago.
There has been so much talk about 15M that it does not seem that ten years have passed. Ten laps of the sun in which Spain overturned: from the political system to the economy, with nuances and with a pandemic in between.
What has not changed one iota is the situation of young people in Spain. Well, yes: worse. Data shows that being between 16 and 34 years old in Spain is worse today than it was ten years ago. And COVID-19 doesn’t have much to do with it: it has barely deepened an already downtrend.
So, for example, in ten years, nearly a million and a half of employees aged 16 to 34 have been lost. According to the labor force survey prepared by the INE, in the first quarter of 2011 there were nearly 5.9 million young employees in our country, or one third of the 18.4 million Spaniards active in the time.
Ten years later, the number has declined in both absolute and relative terms. In the last EPA, 4.4 million workers were counted in this band, or 23% of the population.
And it’s not just a question of whether the youth population has declined or the impact of the pandemic, which has disturbed the comparison. Looking to the EPA for the first quarter of 2019 – when the disease was yet to appear – the numbers also show how the number of young people has declined: 4.7 million, 24.4% .
And the impact of what happened can still be seen in the structure of the profession: the proportion of older people in the labor market has increased and the years of growth interrupted by the coronavirus have not served to revive the youth employment.
This translates into a lost generation: Those who remained in the workforce inflated the top layers and the low entry of young people is even clearer, as the charts below these lines show.
In fact, today the youth unemployment rate is still 39.5%. In March 2011, it was 45.3%.
The lack of opportunities to enter the labor market results in an increase in inequalities. According to the latest data on the risk of poverty published by the INE and which refer to 2019 – that is to say without taking into account the impact of COVID-19-, between 2011 and 2019, it increased by more than four percentage points: from 22.3 to 26.5%.
This implies that one in four young people of this age group in our country is on the verge of social exclusion.
Political disaffection led to the collapse of bipartisanship and, among others, to the rise of figures such as Pablo Iglesias – who ended up founding and leading Podemos a few years later – or Ada Colau, then spokesperson for the Platform for people affected by the mortgage. .
The leadership of the current mayor of Barcelona came hand in hand with the bursting of the bubble, which involved an induced coma in the real estate market and few people could afford to access housing. This lack, in the case of young people, has been symptomatic: the rate of homeowners has fallen by 20 points in a decade.
Although ten years have passed since 15M, there are still conditions that prevent young people from developing fully. Neither integrate the labor market nor access decent housing. A situation that the pandemic has covered with a thick veil but which at any time can start to bubble.