The Performance of the Spanish Labour Market
In Spain, the participation rate has increased steadily since 1995 (see Figure 8.3). The increase is smoothed from 2007 to 2012, though.
Figure 8.3. Participation rates in Spain, France, Germany, UK, and EU-27
Indeed, in those years, the continuous increase in the participation rate of women has compensated for the decline in participation rate for both men and immigrants (Figure 8.4). As we will see later, the continuous increase in the participation rate of women may be related to the fact that unemployment increases were concentrated on men (owing to the downsizing of the construction sector), and traditionally inactive women may have entered the labour market to compensate for the employment loss of their partners. Indeed, when comparing Spain with other European countries, we observe that this pattern of systematic negative growth rates for males and positive growth rates for females in participation rates is Spanish-specific (see Figure 8.5, panel A). This Spanish specificity is also observed when comparing the evolution of the participation rate by age groups (Figure 8.5, panel B). Adverse labour market conditions in Spain during the crisis have induced youngsters to stay out of the labour market (the activity rate of the 15-24 age group displays negative growth rates since 2007). This effect is less clear in other European countries. Only in the UK do we observe for 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011 negative growth rates for the young group.
Figure 8.4. Participation rates in Spain: by gender (panel A) and by nationality (panel B)
-  There is also a structural component, since over the past decades women's participationrate has become increasingly similar to that of men.