€32,000: Catalonia’s per capita GDP reaches 2008 levels
Government to launch a minimum wage, although it has no powers to make it binding
Catalonia’s per capita GDP in 2018 reached 2008 levels, before the financial crisis, with a gross average annual income of 32,000 euros per person.
That is according to an overview of the country’s economy presented by the government on Thursday.
“The macroeconomic big picture of Catalonia is very good,” said vice president and economy minister, Pere Aragonès.
The overall GDP, which already reached pre-crisis levels in 2016, grew by 2.6% last year.
Although the pace of growth is expected to slow this year, as in neighboring countries, the government report states that Catalonia’s economy is “more mature” than others – the increase in exports and internal demand, the paper reads, has contributed to this assessment.
Yet, there is a counterpoint to the figures: the job market. Unemployment has been going down ever since the height of the crisis, and it is expected to drop below 10% in the coming months. However, the proportion of temporary contracts grew to 21.9% last year, while 14.4% of employed people are at risk of poverty.
“[The job market] is the area where we might have more challenges,” said Aragonès. “We won't be able to combat the next potential financial crisis – hopefully very far from now – with a salary depreciation.”
Catalan minimum salary
Aragonès also announced the launch of a Catalan minimum wage, although the only administration that has the power to set a binding minimum standard is the Spanish one.
Yet, Aragonès thinks it could be a useful tool for employers and unions to negotiate their collective agreements.
“If Spain’s minimum salary is insufficient, let’s move forward through collective negotiation,” he said.