MADRID, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- The coronavirus pandemic dealt a heavy blow to the labor market in Spain in 2020, costing a total of 622,600 jobs and raising the unemployment rate to 16.13 percent, according to the Economically Active Population Survey (EAPS) published by the Spanish Statistical Office on Thursday.
Ending six years of job creation, 3,719,800 people were out of work in Spain at the end of 2020, while 19,344,300 people were employed. The 16.13 percent unemployment rate is the highest since 2017, when it stood at 16.55 percent.
All of the sectors of the Spanish economy except construction suffered job losses, but the service sector was the hardest hit, with the loss of 537,100 jobs due mainly to the restrictions imposed on bars and restaurants and to the pandemic's effects on the tourism sector.
The pandemic meant that only 18.3 million tourists visited Spain in the first 11 months of 2020, compared to 79.2 million in 2019, and their spending fell 78 percent over the same period.
The traditional tourist regions of Catalonia and the Canary Islands were the worst hit by the job losses, with 137,600 jobs disappearing in Catalonia, followed by 112,800 in the Canary Islands and 107,100 in the Autonomous Community of Madrid.
Women, who traditionally work in the service sector, were harder hit by job losses than men, with the number of women out of work rising by 305,600, while 222,300 men lost their jobs.
The private sector was also hit badly by the pandemic with the loss of 748,400 jobs, although this was slightly offset by 130,000 workers newly employed in the public sector, due partly to the need for more staff in the health service.