Friday, 20 January 2017

Spain Regains Half of Jobs Lost During the Recession

Spain Regains Half of Jobs Lost During the Recession

The Spanish recovery of 2016 is expected to continue into 2017, and things are already off to a good start as the Spanish Labour Ministry recently released data showing that Spain has regained 1.7 million of the 3.5 million jobs that were lost when the country was hit by recession.

Spain continues its recovery with many jobs being created
Over half a million Spanish people found work during 2016. This is the most people that have found work in a single year in Spain in over a decade, and it’s a great sign of the success Spain has seen following post-recession reforms and adapting to the changing European economy.

Labour Minister Fátima Báñez revealed that the number of Spanish people who are considered to be unemployed fell by 390,534 in 2016, which is the highest amount ever. Báñez said that the year was filled with confidence and hope and, while there is still some distance to go, jobs will continue to be created in Spain thanks to all the effort everyone is putting in.

It’s incredible to look at the most recent employment charts for Spain. The amount of Spaniards who are officially classed as employees and have a social security number started to dip in 2008, reaching a low of 16.2 million during 2013. There has been an encouraging rise since then with over 18 million Spaniards expected to be in work during 2017; which would be the highest figure since 2009; before the recession really hit the country.

With the economy growing by 3% last year, and a further 3% growth expected this year, there’s a lot of optimism to go around. The end of the 10-month political deadlock has also contributed to this optimism as well as introducing a government that will need to know the value of compromising.

There may be some sceptics who are worried about how the Socialists and Podemos could prevent the labour reforms that Mariano Rajoy was able to introduce in his last term, but there are also many economists suggesting that the country will not need such reforms to succeed anyway.

It certainly looks like the next step for living in Spain is to continue with the current course. Báñez is suggesting that the PP government could come together to discuss how the labour reforms could be “improved”, and promising that the government would not retract any of their changes to the law; such as simplifying the hiring and firing process.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Spain Reduces Amount of Unsold Homes by 300,000

Spain Reduces Amount of Unsold Homes by 300,000

The Costa del Sol continues its recovery
While there are some areas of Spain that are having trouble attracting buyers, some areas of the country remain as popular as ever; such as the Costa del Sol. Around half of the unsold properties that were constructed before the crash of 2008 have now been sold according to the latest data from the Caixa Bank Group.

The analysis looked at the bulk of homes that were long thought to be unsellable due to their location, lack of infrastructure, and low demand. It showed that of the 650,000 properties that were on the market in 2009, only 388,000 were still unsold by the end of 2016.

This was representative of a drop of 20% in just one year, with similar results expected in 2017. Caixa are predicting that there will be less than 315,000 of these properties on the market by the end of 2017.

Some areas, such as Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol, are already running out of such unsellable properties. The areas that still have the most amount of these homes including La Rioja, Castille-La Mancha, and Valencia; the inland areas that don’t have as much demand.

To contrast this the problem doesn’t really exist in areas such as the Canaries and the Balearics, thanks in part to the popularity of the regions and the strict building controls.

The bank did further analysis that suggested property transactions would increase 12% in 2017; an increase on the 450,000 home sales recorded in 2016.

Caixa are also expecting that the average property price will increase 4.3% in 2017. Also on the increase is the number of foreign buyers, but it’s expected that British buyers will be a less dominant force with sales spread out between British, German, French and Scandinavian buyers.

It’s also expected the country, in particular Barcelona and the Costa del Sol, will see an increase in demand from Chinese, American and Russian investors.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

British Tourists Spend 17% More Money in Spain

British Tourists Spend 17% More Money in Spain

Brits love affair with Spain continues to flourish and always will
The Spanish economy was boosted in November of 2016 by about €4.91 thanks to tourism, an increase of 8.3% over 2015. Despite the damage done to the pound/euro conversion rate by Brexit, Brits are spending around 17% more per head during their Spanish holiday in November compared to November of last year.

The data comes from the National Statistics Institute (INE) and it shows British tourists in Spain spent around €776 million in November 2016. This was not just an improvement over the figures from last year, but it also accounted for 18.5% of all the money spent by tourists that month.

The interesting thing is that while there were more British tourists, the number was only up 12.5%, meaning that Brits are opening their wallets more with an average spend of €120 per day and €895 per holiday. The only thing that shrunk was the length of the average stay. Brits went from staying in Spain for an average of 8 days in the country to an average of 7.5 days.

Overall the Spanish economy received a boost of €4.91billion from tourism spending in November 2016, an increase of 8.3% on 2015. German tourists pumped €530 million of their own into the country, followed by Scandinavians with €482 million and the French with €291 million.

In terms of regional spending the most money was spent in the Canary Islands thanks to the promise of sun and sand in Winter; almost a third of all spending from tourists in November happened in the Canary Islands.

When analysing all 11 months of 2016 leading to the end of November, the amount of tourist spending in 2016 was pretty impressive. Expenditure was up 8.4% over the same period in 2015 or a massive total of €73.1 billion, of which just over 20% came from British tourists; proving that British tourists remain a key part of Spanish tourism.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Spain Reining in the Russians Once Again After Lean Years

Spain Reining in the Russians Once Again After Lean Years

Russian tourism is important to Spain and many
are taking advantage of the Golden Visa system
The roubles are coming back to Spain after the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) confirmed that Russia has moved their on-off relationship with Spain back to the “on” position.

Following the boon to the Russian economy a few years ago, many of the newly-minted middle class of the country started heading further west than they usually did, moving from the Black Sea Coast to the Mediterranean.

After taking in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas they decided that Spain was the place for them, with tourism peaking in 2014 shortly before the Russian economy collapsed once again following the massive dip in oil prices.

During the next two years it became difficult for Russians to go further afield for their vacations following wage cuts and a bad exchange rate, but things could be once again on the mend.

ATOR say that some 3.3% more Russian tourists visited Spain in 2016 over 2015. While it is still over a third less than the record 883,000 tourists of 2014, it’s still representative of a nice turnaround in the economies of both Spain and Russia.

ATOR said that between January and September of 2016 Spain was the most popular travel destination for travellers from Russia.

Greece was the most popular Russian tourist destination for a brief time in 2014, with over one million Russians heading to the country during the first nine months of 2014. Russians stayed away from the country following the Greek economic crisis and now Spain has moved ahead of Turkey, Thailand and Cyprus to be number one again.

As far as expenditure for guests goes Russians have always been generous to their Spanish hosts and will spend an average of €104 per head, which is about how much your average British tourist spends.

Spanish resorts will no doubt be revelling in the roubles but there has been extra data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) showing that there’s very little for Spain to worry about as far as attracting foreign visitors goes. The amount of visitors up to October was up 11% year-on year with foreigners spending almost €70 million euros during the first ten months of 2016; an increase of 16.3%. So Spain is bringing in more tourists and these tourists are spending more money.

21% of all the foreign expenditure in Spain for 2016 came from Brits, with Germans coming in second at 17.1%.

Monday, 16 January 2017

The Word on the Street

The Word on the Street

Cities such as Bilbao, Valencia and Oviedo are all looking to do something about their street names; in particular Cádiz, where only 8 streets are named after women.

The rename of streets in Spain is very welcome
Spain is currently in the process of doing something about the fact that less than 10% of the streets in Spain are named after inspirational women. The plan is to take the streets named after fascist generals and other undesirables and rename them in honour of prominent female members of society.

Spanish urban planning expert Professor Arias Chachero talked to newspaper El Diario, saying that the situation seemed to be a physical manifestation of the outdated idea that women belong in the home and not out on the street.

While the Spanish Historical Memory Law was introduced in 2007 to formally condemn the fascist regime and eliminate all ties to it, it went unenforced so as to avoid affronting sensitive collective memories. Things have changed following the huge gains that left-leaning political party Podemos made during the local elections in May 2015.

As far as the streets that are already named for women go, almost all of them are named after nuns or female saints, though there was a controversial change in 2014 when one of the city squares of Madrid was renamed Plaza Margaret Thatcher.

As you might have expected some cities were quicker to adapt than others. Córdoba was well ahead of the curve as they ruled back in 2005 that half of the new street names should honour women. A thoroughfare in Madrid which is named for fascist general Andrés Saliquet is getting a name change and will soon be named, perhaps fittingly, in honour of Soledad Cazorla, who was the first female prosecutor in Spain to specialise in gender violence cases.

Citizens in León nominated women such as Rosa Parks, Frida Kahlo, Jane Austen, and local inventor Ángela Ruiz Robles for new street names last month. The name changes are already being introduced in places such as Bilbao, Valencia, and Oviedo, along with Cádiz where only 8 streets out of 736 bear the name of a woman.

So who would you like to see have their name immortalised in the streets of Málaga? Calle Michelle Obama has a nice ring to it.