THE ECONOMY OF SPAIN: Everything Coming Up Roses?

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The unemployment rate stands at 22.37%, 1.4 points below that of the previous quarter.
Within the last year, the unemployment rate decreased by 2.1 points


A Guidepost Report


The Spanish government is in an olé-olé mood. All the figures released by the National Institute of Statistics on the survey of the  Economically Active Population (EAPS) for the second quarter of 2015 are stunning!

Here they are.

Employment registers an increase of 411,800 persons in this quarter as compared to the first quarter (2.36%), reaching a total of 17,866,500 employed persons. This is the highest increase of employment since the second quarter of 2005. Employment has increased by 513,500 persons in the last 12 months, 486,700 in the private sector and by 26,800 in the public.

In the second quarter, the total number of wage earners with permanent contracts has increased by 60,800 persons; plus 307,600 wage earners with temporary contracts. Within the last year, permanent employment increased by 170,300 and temporary employment by 274,600. The number of self-employed workers or businesspersons has increased by 44,200 this quarter; by 72,400 in the last 12 months.

This quarter, as well as in the last 12 months, employment has increased in all sectors: services, construction, and agriculture.

Andalusia has seen one of the biggest increases in employment in the second quater 2015 as well as in the last 123 months

Andalusia is seeing one of the biggest job increases in the  country

By Autonomous Community, the greatest increases in employment in this quarter are registered in Andalusia, the Balearics, and Cataluña. The downside are the Basque Country and the Principality of Asturias. Within the last year, almost all Autonomous Communities have increased their employment rates. The highest increases are registered in Andalusia, the Madrid Autonomous Community and the Comunitat Valenciana.

The number of unemployed persons has decreased by 295,600 this quarter (–5.43%). Thus the total unemployed is 5,149,000. The quarterly variation of unemployment is –2.54% in deseasonalized terms. In the last 12 months, unemployment decreased by 473,900 persons.

The unemployment rate stands at 22.37%, 1.4 points below that of the previous quarter. Within the last year, the unemployment rate decreased by 2.1 points.

By Autonomous Community, the greatest decreases in unemployment as compared to the previous quarter are recorded in Andalucía, Cataluña and Comunitat Valenciana. The greatest unemployment decreases in annual terms are recorded in Andalusia, Comunitat Valenciana, and Cataluña.

This quarter, the number of economically active persons has increased by 116,100, summing up a total active population of 23,015,500. In the last year, the active population increased by 39,700 persons. By nationality, employment increased by 339,700 among Spanish nationals and by 72,100 among foreign nationals.

Increases in employment were recorded in all age groups, with those aged 40-44 (89,300 more) grabbing the biggest share. In the last 12 months, employment has increased by 320,400 men and 193,100 women.

Naturally, all the political parties in the opposition are wary of the above figures. They point out that labor instability is sweeping the economic panorama; that the salaries have plummeted to the pits, thanks to the labor reform passed by the incumbent government; that there’s more socio-economic inequality than ever before, with the gap between the rich and the poor so wide now there’s no bridging it unless there’s a change of government.

Besides, a +22% jobless rate is intolerable, even considering the fact that it is coming down from the awful +25% just three years ago.

Whatever the interpretations are, though, the bare data cannot but point to the remarkable recovery of Spain from the prolonged economic crisis by which it was terribly hard hit. Social justice, that’s up to the politicians who will be governing after the general elections at the end of this year to address — that is, if they are so inclined. And then again, social justice has different meanings to the different ideologies that underpin each of the political parties.


Source of the  Economically Active Population Survey (EAPS), Second Quarter 2015: National Institute of Statistics (INE)

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Los Gallos Flamenco Club in Seville by Mongol (, CC BY-SA 3.0
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