Spain makes progress on jobs and growth, but still a long way to go

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There were fewer people out of work in Spain in the three months up to September thanks to a busy tourist season.

The jobless rate was 26 percent of the workforce – down from the previous quarter’s 26.3 percent.

It is part of a fragile economic recovery, with exports growing but domestic demand shrinking which means a sustainable reduction in unemployment may take years.

Financial analyst Francisco Sainz with Ahorro Corporacion explained: “What we have seen in recent months is a stabilisation of the Spanish labour market, but not a recovery. The economic data is getting better but we think growth is not strong enough to create significant employment and we believe this job creation might arrive later, as late as 2015-2016.”

The International Monetary Fund is less optimistic and is forecasting of 2018 before the jobless total falls below 25 percent.

Economists point out a big factor in the falling numbers of unemployed are Spaniards giving up the search for work and immigrants from other countries, who has come to work in the booming construction industry, returning home.

The jobs statistics were announced one day after the Bank of Spain said the country had come out of recession in the third quarter with GDP growth of 0.1 percent from the second quarter.

The government hailed that as the beginning of the end of the economic crisis, but on the streets of Madrid they are not so sure.

A middle aged lawyer said: “Technically, yes we are out of recession but, in the real economy relating to real people, we’re still not seeing it, we really want to see that.”

Weak consumer spending and the high unemployment rate mean Spain is not expected to return to pre-crisis growth levels for several years

And economists say finding suitable jobs for Spain’s legions of long-term unemployed will be hard.

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