Photo: Unemployment in Spain
Spain’s industry, energy and tourism minister said here Wednesday he expects the rate of job creation in his country to pick up as the economic recovery takes hold.
Even so, Jose Manuel Soria told reporters that unemployment - currently hovering at around 26 percent - remains “a very serious problem” that Spain is trying to solve while also striving to correct other imbalances.
Soria spoke in New York at the Spain Economic Forum, a gathering organized for the second consecutive year by the Spain-U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
He pointed to the positive steps Spain’s economy is taking despite high unemployment and other persistent problems, and stressed the government’s determination to proceed with its reform program.
The forum brought together executives of Spanish companies, U.S. investors and analysts to discuss Spain’s economic developments and future prospects.
Soria cited recent favorable data on employment and a recovery in private consumption and credit to businesses, and also touted a reduction in household indebtedness.
“We’re seeing positive signs in our economy,” the minister said.
He also hailed the sharp reduction in the risk premium and interest rates on Spain’s debt and pointed to the country’s positive balance of payments thanks to its strong export performance and robust tourism industry.
The minister touted the “growing” economic competitiveness Spain is enjoying thanks to internal devaluation, mainly achieved through a labor-sector overhaul.
He said that process has prompted an uptick in industrial activity by multinationals operating in Spain.
The Iberian nation, which was battered by the 2008-2009 global recession and the collapse of a decade-long property boom, emerged from a double-dip recession last year but economic growth has been slow and not been sufficient to dent the high jobless rate.