- Household consumption chains five quarters of rise with an annual rate of 3.5%, the highest since the end of 2006
- Employment increases 2.8%, at the fastest pace in almost eight years, and compensation per employee rises 0.9%
The Spanish economy registered a quarter-on-quarter advance of 0.9% in the first quarter of 2015, two tenths higher than in the last quarter of 2014, according to data published by the National Statistics Institute (INE). In year-on-year data, the GDP increased by 2.7%, seven tenths more than in the previous quarter and the highest rate since the first quarter of 2008. This consolidates the recovery of the Spanish economy, chaining six quarters of growth and with an accelerating profile. The contribution of national demand has strengthened three tenths, up to three percentage points, while the foreign sector has decreased its negative contribution to GDP by four tenths, down to -0.3 points. Employment increased for the fourth consecutive quarter, to 2.8%, the highest rate in nearly eight years. In the last twelve months, 458,000 full-time equivalent jobs have been created.
Among the components of national demand, the recovery of private consumption and investment is consolidated. Household consumption expenditure grew 3.5% year-on-year, a rate one tenth higher than that of the previous quarter and the highest since the end of 2006. In turn, investment in fixed capital experienced annual growth of 6%, nine tenths higher than in the fourth quarter of 2014. By types of assets, materials grew 6.7% in the first quarter, 1.2 points more than in the previous quarter, while property products Intellectual slowed 1.1 points, scoring a rate of 2%. In turn, the greater dynamism of tangible fixed assets is explained by the behavior of investment in construction, which went from growing by 2.4% in the last quarter of last year to 4.9% in the first quarter of 2015. Investment in capital goods and cultivated assets grew at a strong rate, 9.4% year-on-year, although more moderate than in the previous quarter. On the other hand, the consumption expenditure of the Public Administrations increased slightly in the first quarter of the year, 0.1% year-on-year, after the decrease of 0.5% in the previous quarter.
The smallest decrease in net external demand The year-on-year growth in GDP was due to both the acceleration of exports and the deceleration of imports. Thus, exports increased by 5.7%, one point more than in the fourth quarter of 2014, while imports advanced by 7.4%, three tenths less than in the previous quarter.
Among the components of national demand, and in quarter-on-quarter terms, the rate of advance of final consumption expenditure by households slowed two tenths, to 0.7%, and gross fixed capital formation increased by 1.3% , one tenth less than in the fourth quarter of 2014. The slight slowdown in investment in fixed capital is explained by the lower dynamism of investment in equipment and intellectual property products, which slowed their growth rate by half a point and two tenths, respectively, up to 1.4% and 0%. Conversely, investment in construction showed a more expansionary tone, increasing 1.5%, one tenth more than in the previous quarter. On the other hand, the final consumption expenditure of the Public Administrations in volume increased 1.6% in the quarterly rate, after decreasing 1% the previous quarter.
In quarter-on-quarter terms, exports grew 1%, after the null variation of the previous quarter, and imports exhibited an expansionary behavior (0.8%) after decreasing 0.6% between October and December 2014. In turn , the rebound in exports is explained by the strong dynamism of service exports (9.1%), partially offset by the decrease in goods exports (-2.3%).
From the supply perspective, the GVA of the industry increased 1.8% in the first quarter in quarter-on-quarter terms, after stabilizing in the previous quarter. The GVA of the services sector grew by 0.6%, two tenths less than in the previous quarter, and that of construction moderated the intensity of the increase by 1.7 points, to 1.4%. The VAB for agriculture, for its part, registered a positive rate of 0.4%, compared to the fall of the previous quarter (-4.5%).
The quarter-on-quarter rate of job creation, in terms of full-time equivalent jobs, increased again in the first quarter, one tenth, to 0.8%. In year-on-year terms, employment grew for the fourth consecutive quarter, 2.8%, a rate that has not been reached since the third quarter of 2007. In the last year, 458,000 full-time equivalent jobs have been created. As a consequence of the evolution of GDP and employment, productivity per employed person reduced the rate of the year-on-year decline by three tenths, down to -0.1%. On the other hand, compensation per employee increased by 0.9%, after the decrease of 0.5% in the fourth quarter of last year, so that unit labor costs increased by 1%, compared to the 0.1 decrease % of the previous quarter.
The year-on-year rate of the GDP deflator stood in positive territory (0.5%) in the first quarter of 2015 after four quarters of uninterrupted falls. This increase is mainly due to the increase in the deflator of public consumption (1.4%) and investment (0.5%), as well as the decrease in the deflator of imports (-2.4%).