• 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 implies 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 in the fourth quarter of 2017. In the last twelve months, it grows at a rate of 3%, according to the National Accounting data published by INE, which is one tenth more than the data advanced in April. It follows, therefore, the strong impulse of economic activity, with a greater contribution of external demand, of 0.2 points, three tenths higher than the previous quarter. In addition, this growth remains intensive in job creation. In annual terms, employment increases in the first quarter at a rate of 2.6%, representing an increase of 465,900 full-time equivalent jobs. The Spanish economy will once again be the fastest growing among the major European economies.

With the data for the first quarter of the year, the Spanish economy faces the fifth year of the economic recovery. In total, GDP has been 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 compared to the euro zone, with the intertrimestral and inter-annual rates of the GDP of the euro zone standing at 0.4% and 2.5%, respectively.

The engine of growth of the Spanish economy continues to be national demand (contributes 2.8 points), but also with positive contributions from external demand. Household consumption experiences 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 down 0.5 and 2.1 points, respectively, up to 1.9% and 3.5%. Investment in construction moderates 0.1 points the rate of progress, up 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 deceleration of 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 inter-quarter terms, employment keeps the growth rate stabilized at 0.5%. Taking into account the evolution of the associated average working day, there is an increase of one tenth of the annual rate of hours actually worked (from 1.9% to 2%). As a result of a year-on-year increase in GDP slightly higher than that of employment, productivity per employee increased 0.3% year-on-year in the first quarter, one tenth more than in the fourth quarter of 2017. On the other hand, the salary per employee is increases 0.4% year-on-year, two tenths more than in the previous quarter, so that unit labor costs remain practically stabilized (0.1%).

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