The COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. First wave: from the first cases to the end of June 2020
Monographs from the National Atlas of Spain. New content
This sector, called here merely ‘agricultural sector’, encompasses in fact farming, livestock, hunting, forestry, logging, fishing, aquaculture and the food processing industry. By monitoring the monthly evolution of the most important indicators and variables, some initial conclusions may be drawn on the extent to which the pandemic and the decisions taken to tackle it influenced the social, productive and economic dimensions of this sector. As a headline, it may be stated that the effects were negligible.
The various types of production do not appear to have suffered under lockdown. For example, the production of dairy products was larger in 2020 than in 2019 -especially in the first four months of both years-. The year-on-year growth rates were, nevertheless, very similar. The production curves for poultry, bovine and ovine meat show a similar trend. However, the year-on-year evolution in pork production was slightly different, being larger in 2020 than in 2019.
The monthly evolution in the amount of registered unemployed in the agricultural sector was, however, positive and rather significant. The trend in the amount of unemployed was following a downward pattern in 2019 that changed into a positive tendency during the first half of the year 2020 and back into a downward trend after July 2020.
By contrast, the amount of workers affiliated to the Social Security system followed the same patterns as in 2019 both in terms of quantity and rate. The evolution in both years was very similar, suggesting the pandemic had no clear influence on this variable. The only remarkable difference was that during the most stringent phase of lockdown, in March and April 2020, the amount of affiliated workers dropped to roughly the same levels as the previous year.
The evolution in the amount of workers affiliated to the Social Security system in the food processing industry follows a similar pattern. The amount of affiliated workers in the first quarter of 2020 was larger than the one registered in the same period of the previous year. Initially, the number decreased during the most stringent period of lockdown, from February to April, when a very remarkable drop in the amount of affiliated workers was registered. However, after these first three months of 2020, affiliation picked up and steadily increased, albeit with a lower growth rate than the one observed a year before. The evolution in the amount of furloughed workers followed a reverse trend both in the agricultural sector and the food processing industry, i.e. the amount of furloughed workers dropped as the amount of affiliated workers recovered.
Some interesting data may be pointed out when analysing the quantity, value and unit price of fish catches in Asturias and comparing them with the trends observed since 2015. An anomaly linked to COVID-19 could have been expected a priori, yet this assumption shall be rejected. On the one hand, normal patterns were present at the beginning and at the end of the period assessed. On the other hand, fish catches and values increased in February and March 2020 thanks to an exceptionally good mackerel season. Last, fish catches and value were clearly higher than the average in May 2020. However, this may be attributed to a change in anchovy fishery, which was partially forbidden from 2015 to 2019, and once restrictions came to an end in 2020, catch volumes and value soared, which, in turn, caused the unit price to fall from 7.2 €/kg in 2015 to 1.52 €/kg in 2020.
Co-authorship of the text in Spanish: Felipe Fernández García, José Manuel Llorente Pinto and Juan Ignacio Plaza Gutiérrez. See the list of members engaged
Adaptation of the text and translation into English for this international version: Andrés Arístegui Cortijo (Translator in chief)
You can download the complete publication The COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. First wave: from the first cases to the end of June 2020 in Libros Digitales del ANE site.