• GDP chains four and a half years of growth and the economy faces its fifth year of recovery
  • Employment increases in the first quarter at a rate of 2.6%, which means the creation of 465,900 jobs
  • The contribution of external demand to growth is again positive in the first quarter of the year, of 0.2 points

The Spanish economy registered a growth of 0.7% in the first quarter, the same rate as that of the fourth quarter of 2017. In the last twelve months, it has grown at a rate of 3%, according to the National Accounts data published by the INE, which is one tenth more than the data advanced in April. Therefore, the strong momentum of economic activity continues, with a greater contribution from external demand, of 0.2 points, three tenths higher than that of the previous quarter. Furthermore, this growth continues to be intensive in job creation. In annual terms, employment increased in the first quarter at a rate of 2.6%, which represents an increase of 465,900 full-time equivalent jobs. The Spanish economy will again be the one that grows the most among the major European economies.

With data from the first quarter of the year, the Spanish economy faces the fifth year of the economic recovery. In total, the GDP takes four and a half years (18 quarters) of consecutive increases. For 2018, the Government estimates an average annual growth of 2.7%. The growth differential continues to be favorable to Spain with respect to the euro area, with the quarterly and year-on-year rates of GDP in the euro area standing at 0.4% and 2.5%, respectively, in the first quarter.

The growth engine of the Spanish economy continues to be national demand (contributes 2.8 points), but also with positive contributions from external demand. Household consumption experienced an interannual increase of 2.8%, three tenths higher than in the fourth quarter of 2017, while public consumption and gross fixed capital formation slowed 0.5 and 2.1 points, respectively, up to 1.9% and 3.5%. Investment in construction moderates the rate of progress by 0.1 points, to 4.7%. For its part, the foreign sector contributes 0.2 points, compared to the negative contribution of the previous period (-0.1 points) due to a slowdown in imports (2.4 points, up to 2.8% year-on-year) higher to that of exports (1.2 points, up to 3.2%).

Employment advanced 2.6% year-on-year, three tenths less than the previous quarter, which means the net creation of 465,900 full-time equivalent jobs. In quarter-on-quarter terms, employment maintains the growth rate stabilized at 0.5%. Taking into account the evolution of the associated average working day, there was an increase of one tenth of the year-on-year rate of hours actually worked (from 1.9% to 2%). As a consequence of a year-on-year increase in GDP slightly higher than that of employment, productivity per employed person increased in the first quarter by 0.3% year-on-year, one tenth more than in the fourth quarter of 2017. In turn, the remuneration per employee was it increased 0.4% year-on-year, two tenths more than in the previous quarter, so that unit labor costs remained practically stabilized (0.1%).

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