Catalonia welcomes 1.6 million tourists in September, 17% fewer than in 2019
Two out of three visitors in Spain came to Catalonia spending €1.8 billion
Two out of three visitors in Spain came to Catalonia spending €1.8 billion
The number of unemployed people in Catalonia dropped to 552,500 people in the third quarter of 2016, representing a decrease of 51,100 people in relation to the second quarter, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA). The unemployment rate fell to 14.63%, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2008. The environment of economic recovery, with record numbers in the tourism sector, led to the creation of about 42,700 new jobs, the largest number ever recorded in any of the seventeen regions of Spain. Catalonia closed the third quarter with 3.2 million employed people, a 3.64% increase over the previous year, and was the community with the highest number of people employed, ahead of Madrid (with 2.8 million).
The negative inflation rate in January has been accentuated by a drop in housing prices (-4.8%) mainly due to the decrease in electricity prices, according to figures released by the Spanish Statistics Institute. The January sales have also affected the so-called Consumer Price Index (IPC). On the other hand, the price of transportation grew from -2.7% in December to -1.7% this past January, due to the increase in fuel prices. Thus, the annual variation in Catalonia leaves annual inflation for last month flat. In the whole of Spain, the drop was even more accentuated; prices decreased by 0.3% last month in comparison to January 2015.
Prices have started to recover. They increased by 0.3% this past November in Catalonia and broke the negative trend of the last three months. Thus, the annual inflation rate is now 0%, according to the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE). This increase has been caused mainly by the stabilisation of fuel prices, which dropped in 2014, the increase in the cost of electricity in comparison to the same period last year and the rise in the price of clothing and housing in November. Barcelona is the only region where the inflation rate is slightly positive; it was 0.1% at the end of November, whereas the previous month it was -0.1%. In the whole of Spain, prices rose by 0.4% last month in comparison to October but the annual rate is still negative, at -0.3%.
The number of jobless people in Catalonia at the end of the third quarter stood at 659,600, which means 66,500 less than in the same period last year. The 17.49% unemployment rate is the lowest in the last five years, according to the Active Population Survey (EPA) published this Thursday by the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE). Catalonia is the Autonomous Community which led job creation in Spain:between July and September, 35,800 jobs were created, mainly in the service sector, due to seasonal contracts. In Spain as a whole, unemployment fell by nearly 300,000 people and 182,000 new jobs were created. The overall number of jobless people in Spain now stands at 4.8 million, a figure that hasn't been registered in the last four years and is below the 5 million psychological barrier.
Catalan companies sold abroad some €31,899.9 million worth of goods and services between January and June this year, which represents a 7.16% increase on the figures from the first six months of 2014, according to information released on Tuesday by the Spanish Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness. Catalan exports have never before reached such a high sales volume for a six-month period. Not only this, the level of international sales registered during June alone also broke all previous records for this month, coming in at €5,662.1 million. Indeed, almost month after month Catalonia's export records were broken during the first half of this year and the Catalan economy has seen exports rocket during the last 3 years. In Spain as a whole, international sales have also broken all previous records in the first half of 2015, reaching 125,122.9 million, a 4.9% growth on figures from the first 6 months of 2014. Thus, the Catalan economy generated 25.49% of Spain's total exports, while representing 19% of its GDP and 16% of its population.
Catalonia’s annual inflation rate increased from a rate of 0.3% in June to 0.4% in July, according to information released on Thursday by the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE). This is the highest yearly rate since June 2014, when prices also increased 0.4% compared to the previous year. In Spain as a whole, annual inflation continued at the 0.1% rate registered in June. Therefore, deflation is gradually being left behind, although price increases are still at a low level, mostly due to the continuing low price of fuel on the global market. However, in monthly terms, prices declined by 0.8% in Catalonia, mainly owing to a 13.3% drop in the price of retail goods due to seasonal sales, but also because of a 0.5% drop in the price of fruits and vegetables. The increase in housing rentals, communications and entertainment, mostly travel industry, have not been able to compensate for the aforementioned declining prices in monthly terms.
Real estate continues its positive trend and is gradually leaving behind the crisis the sector went through between 2008 and 2014. Housing sales have grown in Catalonia for the 9th consecutive month in annual terms. This week, the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE) released the sales figures for the month of June 2015 and they show an 8.15% growth in Catalonia compared to June last year. It is the best figure for the month of June since 2010. Previously-owned properties are leading the market by a clear margin, with only 15% of sales being new builds. In Spain as a whole, housing sales have already seen 10 consecutive months of growth. In June, they increased by 17% on last year’s figures, with 78.3% of the properties sold having been previously owned.
Registered unemployment decreased in Catalonia by 9,162 people in July compared to the previous month, the third-biggest drop for the month of July since 1996. The total number of people registered as unemployed with Catalonia’s Public Employment Service (SOC) at the end of the month was 501,785 individuals, which represents an 11.69% drop in annual terms, the highest percentage decrease since April 2000 (when registered unemployment dropped 11.94% compared to 1999 figures). In addition, the figures from July mean that there have now been 25 consecutive months of annual drops in the number of unemployed in Catalonia. As well as this, the total number of Catalans without a job and looking for one at the end of last month was the lowest since July 2009 (when there were 495,911 jobless people). In Spain as a whole, registered unemployment decreased by 74,028 people from June to July, which represents an 8.45% annual drop and is Spain’s most significant decrease for the month of July since 1998.
Catalonia's GDP increased by 3.5% between June 2014 and June 2015 and was the Autonomous Community with the third-highest level of economic growth, leading Spain's economic recovery. Spain as a whole grew at a 3.1% annual rate in the same period, according to figures released on Thursday by the Spanish Independent Fiscal Authority (Airef). Ahead of Catalonia in terms of GDP growth are the Balearic Islands – with 4% growth – and the Valencian Country (also called Valencian Community) – with growth of 3.9%. They are followed by Catalonia (3.5%), the Canary Islands (3.4%) and the Madrid region (3.2%). According to these figures, the eastern part of Spain has been the most dynamic during the last few months, and Catalonia, which is the wealthiest Autonomous Community and has one of the highest growth rates, is the region contributing the most in absolute terms.
At the end of June there were 31,900 fewer jobseekers in Catalonia than in March and 44,200 less than a year ago, according to the Active Population Survey for the second quarter of the year released on Thursday. These figures mean Catalonia's total number of unemployed was 726,200 individuals and that the unemployment rate was 19.1% at the end of the second quarter. In March, the unemployment rate was 20.05%; in December, 19.88%; and in September, 19.1% as well, the same as for June of this year. In addition, the number of people with a job increased by 51,800 individuals between March and June, a 1.71% increase in quarterly terms. Compared to a year ago, in June there were 35,000 more people with a job than in June 2014. At Spanish level, unemployment also decreased during the second quarter of the year, with 295,600 fewer jobseekers registered, a 5.43% reduction on figures from March. In the whole of Spain, there were 5,149,000 people without a job and a 22.37% unemployment rate overall.
The number of foreign tourists visiting Catalonia continues to increase year after year. On Wednesday, the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism released the figures for foreigners visiting Spain between January and June 2015. 7,439,211 international visitors came to Catalonia in that period, the highest number ever and a 4.4% increase on the figures from the previous year (when 7.1 million foreigners came). In addition, Catalonia also led the destination ranking within Spain, attracting 25.5% of all 29.2 million international tourists visiting the country during the first six months of the year (a 4.2% increase on 2014 figures). In the month of June, 1.71 million foreign visitors came to Catalonia, a 1.8% increase compared to last year and representing 25.6% of all international tourists travelling to Spain in that month.
This May, Catalan exports increased by 4.5% on the same period in 2014, reaching €5,301.7 million and setting a new record as the best May since 2000 (when comparable data started to be collected), according to figures published on Thursday by the Spanish Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness. Imports also rose, by 2.7% to €6,331.2 million. The chemical industry accounted for €1,433.9 million, increasing by 7.1%, followed by the car industry, represented €882.5 million and a 6% growth. In contrast, exports in capital goods fell by 7.1% (€892.8 million). In the whole of Spain, exports increased by 1.9%, totalling €21,025 million and breaking a new record for a month of May since the beginning of the historical series in 1971.