- GDP chains four years of growth and closes 2017 with an increase of 3.1%
- Employment increases at an annual rate close to 3%, which means the creation of 506,000 jobs
- The contribution of the foreign sector is positive for the second consecutive year, with an increase in exports of 5%
- Investment is the most dynamic component, especially that destined for capital goods
The Spanish economy registered an average annual growth of 3.1% in 2017, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics, which allowed the level of income prior to the crisis to be recovered in the second quarter. Thus, four consecutive years of economic growth are chained, the last three with a rhythm of more than 3% (3.4% in 2015; 3.3% in 2016; and 3.1% in 2017) and a differential of favorable growth compared to the euro area. Therefore, the strong momentum of economic activity continues, with an improvement in national demand, as a consequence of the good performance of investment and private consumption, but with a positive contribution of external demand of three tenths to the growth of GDP. It is the second year in which the foreign sector contributes to growth, after 2014 and 2015 its contribution was negative.
The data confirm the transformation of the growth pattern, since it is an intensive growth in job creation. Employment growth is maintained for the third year at rates close to 3% (2.8% on average in 2017), creating 506,000 full-time equivalent jobs between the end of 2016 and the end of 2017.
The National Accounts data for 2017 also shows that it is a balanced growth, with a contribution of three tenths of net external demand. According to Balance of Payments figures, the Spanish economy closed last year with a current surplus of 1.7% of GDP, chaining 5 consecutive years of positive balances, four of them coinciding with positive rates of economic growth, a fact unprecedented in our recent economic history. Thus, the financing capacity of the Spanish economy with the rest of the world would be 1.9% of GDP, accumulating six consecutive years of positive balances in a context of strong growth in real GDP. Therefore, we continue to reduce our foreign debt.
Domestic demand contributes 2.8 points to growth in 2017, three tenths more than in the previous year, due to an acceleration of investment, going from 3.3% in 2016 to 5% in 2017. In this dynamism of the Investment highlights, as in previous years, investment in capital goods, which grew 6.1%, accelerating compared to 2016 (4.9%) and constituting the most dynamic component of national demand.
The growth of the economy is transferred almost entirely to employment, as has happened in the last three years. Employment increases by 2.8% on an annual basis, which means the creation of more than half a million new full-time equivalent jobs in the last year. Thus, a further step is taken in the objective of reaching 20 million jobs at the end of the Legislature, at which time it will be possible to confirm definitively that the crisis has been overcome. If employment has grown at rates close to 3%, the remuneration of employees has increased still further (3.3% in the year as a whole).
In the fourth quarter of 2017, the Spanish economy maintained the quarter-on-quarter growth rate at 0.7% compared to 0.6% in the euro area. In line with what has happened in the year as a whole, it is worth highlighting, within national demand, the advance in investment in fixed capital (5.6% year-on-year), which is the highest rate since the end of 2015. In year-on-year rate, the growth of the fourth quarter registered a variation of 3.1% for the third consecutive quarter.