Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's a case of Good News, Bad News for Spain

Mixed headlines about the Spanish economy this week as the tourist sector delivers the goods, but unemployment continues to rise to an agonising 4.2 millions.

New figures reveal that Spain's travel sector experienced a very good Summer season. Visitor numbers hit a record high of 7.64 millions in August (up 9.4% on the previous year).

A separate survey showed Spain remains the number 1 choice in Britain (Spain's top market) for family holidays. Some have speculated that the Arab Spring and rising flight costs have caused some Europeans to choose Spain over more exotic and far-flung destinations.

Great news for the economy as tourism is Spain's biggest industry and employer. It is also the main source of export income which injects foreign demand into the stagnant domestic economy.

That's the good news. The bad news came from unemployment stats showing a net increase of 95,000 on the unemployment rolls to record another new high of 21%. The two bits of news are probably connected as tourist jobs are inevitably seasonal and some will have already been laid off last month.

Another component of the jobs woe however is more worrying. Reports say that there were heavy job losses in the public sector as local government in particular sheds employees. Teachers are being laid off for example and are going on strike in some areas.

Many local authorities which profited from high property-related taxes in the boom (and spent accordingly) are now deep in debt and some are not settling their bills and being taken to court by contractors such as rubbish collectors and cleaners.pp

It's all a reminder that austerity isn't painless and that, although Spain has made decent progress in getting the deficit under control, that very process may deepen the economic crisis.

No comments:

Post a Comment

OctoFinder Blog and ping http://www.feeds4all.nl Spanish Insight - Blogged