The crisis caused by the coronavirus, which has been going on for more than a year now, is far from being over.
But perhaps the worst thing is that a latent pessimism – unjustified but real – all too often obscures data and realities which lean towards a cautious and reasoned optimism.
If this is added to the political turmoil, Spain may face extreme confusion that alters reality.
Spain’s Unemployment Data
In Spain, there is data, now that Easter has passed, that should tilt the balance towards moderate optimism.
Unemployment fell by 59,000 people, and 70,000 jobs were created (weak for March).
That is 400,000 more unemployed than a year ago, which is serious, but the ERTE mechanism has softened the crisis’s social effects.
There had been 3.5 million workers in ERTE, and now there are only 740,000 left.
And the number of people affiliated with Social Security at the end of the last quarter, 18.9 million, is quite similar to last year.
The 740,000 still in ERTE are a potential threat, as there will be companies, especially in the service and hospitality sectors, which will end up closing.
However, once the EU seems to have resolved the serious supply problem of the first quarter, the outlook for vaccinations indicates the worst is not the most likely scenario.
Spain Politics Dilemma
March has once again shown that when mobility restrictions are eased, the economy and employment pick up.
This is confirmed by March’s proven PMI index, which has been very good for the European Union, including Spain. At a 171-month high since end- 2006.
And there is more. In its April outlook, the IMF has raised Spain’s growth forecast for the second time (the first was in January), establishing it at 6.4%, above that of Germany (3.6%) and the eurozone.
Of course, it will grow more this year because Spain contracted last year. But Spain will grow strongly and, according to the IMF, the same as the United States.
That said, Spain will continue with high unemployment (as always) and public deficit problems (as always).
The economic data encourages cautious optimism despite a social climate tending towards defeatism.
Moreover, Spain is immersed in great political tension. And there is no shortage of reasons for this.
Spain on Economy
In Catalonia, the PSC won the elections but the pro-independence movement, split into three parties, revalidated its absolute majority.
And almost two months after the elections, they are unable to elect a president of the Generalitat, and it cannot be ruled out that the elections will have to be repeated.
A very divided Catalonia can hardly contribute to Spain’s governability and stability.
And Spain would need it. The early elections in Madrid, called Isabel Díaz Ayuso, could paralyze political life until May 4.
In principle only regional, these elections are already being considered primaries for the next general elections.
There is a right-wing with few complexes and waving the flag of tax cuts and anti-communism (with Iglesias as an excuse).
It faces a Spanish government presided over by a social democrat with alliances to the left and with Basque and Catalan nationalists.