- Spain leads economic and labor market improvement among developed countries
- The evolution of the GDP and the number of employed persons recover the growth rates prior to the recession
The Council of Ministers has updated the 2015-2016 macroeconomic table with an upward revision of the growth and employment variables. A GDP growth of 3.3% is forecast for this year, four tenths more than that set in the last Stability Program, and 3% in 2016, one tenth more. The labor market will close 2015 with an increase of 602,000 in the number of employed, 3.4% more, and an unemployment rate of 21.1%. These are prudent and realistic forecasts, in line with what is estimated by different private analysts. They also corroborate that the Spanish economy will lead growth and job creation among developed countries this year, as international organizations have certified these days.
These objectives are achievable because they are based on an economic policy aimed at correcting macroeconomic imbalances. The intense reduction of the public deficit, achieved in a framework of severe recession, the process of indebtedness, the gains in competitiveness and the obtaining of surplus and financing capacity vis-à-vis the exterior, give economic projections high credibility. It is the first time in the Spanish economy that it has had such a long period of positive external balance, four years if we count 2016. And the same is true of financing capacity, which will last for at least five years. To this must be added the absence of inflationary pressures, which has made it possible to improve the purchasing power of families and make it easier, along with job creation, for the recovery to begin to be perceived on a day-to-day basis by a greater number of citizens.
The data shows that Spain is heading out of the crisis with greater force than estimated a few months ago. The 3.3% growth forecast for 2015 (annual average) is based on the good evolution during the first half of the year, which at an annualized rate registers an increase of 4%. Both internal demand, with a contribution of 3.3 points, and net external demand, with an improvement of two tenths, contribute in a balanced and sustainable way to this better evolution of GDP. The 3.3% forecast is the highest rate since 2007 and, together with the 1.4% registered in 2014, means recovering more than half (4.7 points) of the income lost during the crisis. If the forecasts for 2016 (3%) are taken into account, next year the Spanish economy will have returned to the 2008 GDP levels.
Domestic demand will drive growth in 2015, with a better evolution than expected. Private consumption will increase 3.4%, driven by the faster than expected revival of employment, the moderation in consumer prices and the decrease in taxes derived from the tax reform. Investment in fixed capital is expected to increase by 6.4% in 2015, thanks to capital goods (9.3%) and, especially, construction (5.5%). This sector will grow for the first time in 2015 after seven years of consecutive falls, with a recovery in the residential segment (3.2%) and, to a greater extent, in other constructions (7.3%).
In the case of the labor market, the higher GDP growth in 2015 will translate into higher job creation. At the end of this year, the total number of employed persons (EPA) will be 18,171 million, 3.4% more than a year earlier. This figure exceeds that of the end of 2011 and the growth rate is the highest since 2007. It assumes that by the end of 2015, 602,000 jobs will have been created in the year. If we add to this figure those from last year, we reach 1,036 million new jobs in both years. The unemployment rate also improves, reaching 21.1% of the active population at the end of 2015, below that of the end of 2011.
The year 2016 continues the recovery of the economy, with an expected growth of 3% thanks to the fact that national demand contributes 2.9 points and net external demand, one tenth. The consolidation of the economic recovery inside and outside the EU boosts exports of goods and services, which are growing at a rate of 6% annually in volume, and imports grow by 6.4%, four tenths more than in 2014 Employment grows at an average annual rate of 3% and the unemployment rate will drop to 19.7%.