The GDP results for the third quarter show a significant recovery in activity compared to the second quarter, thanks to the gradual return to normality and the lifting of containment measures.
The increase in GDP (16.7% quarter-on-quarter) compensates for part of the fall registered in the second quarter (-17.8%) and is compatible with CEOE's forecasts for the year as a whole of -11.5%, since that in the fourth quarter there are clear signs of less dynamism in activity and growth for this period is expected to be revised downwards.
In year-on-year terms, the drop in GDP stood at -8.7%, compared to -21.5% in the second quarter. Both domestic and foreign demand improve significantly, although their contribution remains negative. Specifically, the contribution of domestic demand is -7.8 percentage points, 11.0 points higher than in the second quarter, while foreign demand presents a contribution of −0.9 points, 1.8 points higher than last quarter.
From the point of view of domestic demand, the increase in household consumption (20.7% quarter-on-quarter) and the notable improvement in business investment stand out, with an advance of 37.4% quarter-on-quarter, once again at pre-crisis levels . However, there has been a stagnation in the path of improvement in the expectations of companies and consumers in recent months, so it is essential to reduce uncertainty, favoring the business climate and the ability of companies to adapt to the new context, to achieve consolidate recovery.
On the foreign sector side, the significant increase in exports stands out, fundamentally in its goods component, since the services component continued to be greatly affected by the collapse of the inflow of tourists and stands at levels almost 75% lower to those of the previous year. The foreign sector can be a lever for recovery, as it has been in previous crises, so those measures that favor the internationalization of the Spanish economy and competitiveness must be carried out.
All sectors have increased their activity sharply compared to the previous quarter, although only agriculture, financial and insurance activities and Public Administration, education and health, which had suffered less in the second quarter, managed to register positive interannual rates.
The increase in hours worked (24.7% quarter-on-quarter) reflects more clearly than other statistics the effect on employment of this crisis, regardless of the contractual and / or administrative situation of the workers. In year-on-year terms, they still stand at -6.2%, which is consistent with the drop in GDP of -8.7%, but assumes that productivity per hour actually worked registers a year-on-year drop of -2.7%.
Unit labor costs and compensation per employee continue to show progress (4.6% and 1.0%, respectively). From this it follows that a decoupling of labor costs may be taking place in relation to the real situation of the labor market.
The contraction of the gross operating surplus continues (-7.0% year-on-year), after falling by -22.4% in the previous quarter, reflecting the dramatic situation of companies and the difficulties that persist. In this sense, it is necessary to maintain and intensify the measures to support the productive fabric so as not to put its survival at risk, since it is vital to consolidate recovery and preserve employment.