• The composition is more balanced, with a positive contribution from the foreign sector for the first time after two years in negativ
  • Employment grows for the third year and increases by 2.9% on average, which means the creation of almost half a million jobs

The Spanish economy maintained an average growth of 3.2% in 2016, the same rate as a year earlier, and almost double the average for the euro area, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). Thus, three consecutive years of economic growth are chained, one step away from recovering the level of income lost in the crisis. The composition of growth is more balanced since the contribution of domestic demand is moderated, while external demand contributes half a point to GDP growth, after two years in the negative. Employment growth is maintained for the second year at rates close to 3% (2.9% on average in 2016), which translates into the creation of 481,668 full-time equivalent jobs.

The National Accounts data for the end of 2016 show that the Spanish economy maintains a strong growth rate, above 3% in the last two years. These are three years followed by positive rates, after five years of recession, which keep Spain with growth that almost doubles that of the euro area as a whole (1.7%). It is also a more balanced growth model, since net external demand contributes half a point in 2016, after two years in the negative. It is confirmed that the Spanish economy closed last year with a current account surplus for the fourth consecutive year, reaching 2% of GDP, a record in the historical series.

Domestic demand contributes 2.8 points to growth, although with a lower rate of progress due to the lower impulse of investment and public consumption. Investment, however, grows at an average annual rate (3.1%), very parallel to that of all economic activity. In this regard, the strong boost in investment in capital goods (5%) and, to a lesser extent (1.9%), in construction stands out. Private consumption, for its part, registered a notable dynamism and accelerated four tenths, growing 3.2% on an annual average, the same rate as that of the economy as a whole. The favorable evolution of consumption is a reflection of confidence in the Spanish economy and job creation.

Employment increases by 2.9% on an annual basis, one tenth less than the previous year, which means the creation of almost half a million equivalent full-time jobs. Practically all economic growth is transferred to employment, as has happened especially in the last two years. If this rhythm is maintained, the objective of recovering the total figure of 20 million jobs by the end of the Legislature will be easily achieved. Job creation evolves practically parallel to the remuneration of total employees (3.2% in the year as a whole). It is also compatible with purchasing power gains in remuneration per real employee (+ 0.2%), since in 2016 annual average inflation was negative (-0.2%).

In the fourth quarter of 2016, the Spanish economy maintained its quarter-on-quarter growth rate at 0.7% compared to 0.4% for the euro area as a whole. It is the same rate as that registered in the third quarter of last year, which indicates that the Spanish economy did not lose momentum in the final months of the year that has just ended. In the interannual rate, the fourth quarter registered a variation of 3%, compared to 3.2% in the previous quarter. Thus, 2017 began with a still high cruising speed, which brings the objective of recovering the level of income lost in the crisis as soon as possible. On the other hand, employment increased 2.7% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period of the previous year and 463,000 jobs were created in the last twelve months.

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