• Current account surplus is recorded for the fifth year and exports grow 5.1%, the highest rate since 2011
  • All economic growth is transferred to employment with the creation of 506,000 jobs at the end of the year
  • The unemployment rate will drop to 16.6%, more than 10 points lower than the 2013 maximum and the lowest level since the crisis began

The Spanish economy will grow 2.5% in 2017, which will allow the creation of more than half a million jobs and place the unemployment rate at 16.6% at the end of the year. These are the forecasts contained in the macroeconomic table that supports the Draft State Budgets for 2017 approved by the Council of Ministers and thus initiates the parliamentary process. These are very prudent figures and consistent with the achievement of public deficit targets. It is a more balanced growth, since the contribution of the foreign sector is positive for the second year, with strong growth in exports. It is also the fifth consecutive year of current account surplus, while maintaining the momentum of domestic demand.

The macroeconomic picture shows that the economic crisis is lagging behind with a growth rate that will allow it to get closer to employment levels before 2009. The Government's forecast is that this year the Spanish economy will grow at an average annual rate of 2 , 5%, which is the fourth year of positive rates. It is the same 2.5% in which it is estimated that employment will increase, which will mean one more year, that practically all economic growth is transferred to the creation of jobs. These are very conservative forecasts, surpassed by private analysts, and who opt for maximum credibility, as has been the general pattern in recent years.

During 2017, steps were also taken in the direction of consolidating a more balanced and sustainable economic growth model. The contribution of national demand falls to 2.1 points (2.8 in 2016), with growth in private consumption of 2.6%, while that of Public Administrations remains at 0.8%. Investment grew 2.6%, with greater strength than that allocated to capital goods (3.5%) than construction (it remained at 1.9%). External demand contributes to growth for the second consecutive year (0.4 points in 2017), thanks to the pull in exports, which grew by 5.1%, the highest rate since 2011. Imports increased, below, 4 ,3%. For the fifth consecutive year, the Spanish economy will record a surplus in the current account balance (1.9% in 2017). This indicates that the Spanish economy continues to gain competitiveness, in a context of economic recovery.

The increase in private consumption forecast is based on the improvement of confidence in the evolution of the Spanish economy and in the creation of employment, which will boost the disposable income of families. In terms of national accounting, employment will grow 2.5% and the unemployment rate will drop to 17.5% of the working population (full-time equivalent jobs, on an annual average). In EPA terms (Active Population Survey), it is expected that in the fourth quarter of this year 19,014 million people will have been reached, after increasing by 506,000 compared to the same period of the previous year. If this rhythm is maintained, the pre-crisis employment level will be recovered at the end of 2019. The unemployment rate drops to 16.6% at the end of 2017, more than 10 points lower than the maximum reached four years ago (first quarter of 2013) and the lowest rate since 2008.

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