Catalan economy to reach pre-crisis GDP levels in 2016
According to 'Memòria Econòmica 2014' (an annual analysis promoted by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce), last year the Catalan economy registered its best performance since the start of the economic crisis. In particular, for the first time since 2007, positive net results in terms of employment were recorded. However, current GDP is still 6% below 2007 levels and will remain so until 2016. In addition, if growth continues at the current rate, employment will only reach 2007 levels in seven years, which means in 2021. According to the report's estimates, at the end of 2015, Catalonia will record a 3% GDP growth.
Barcelona (ACN).- According to 'Memòria Econòmica 2014' (an annual analysis by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce), last year the Catalan economy registered its best performance since the start of the economic crisis. In particular, for the first time since 2007, positive net results in terms of employment were recorded. However, current GDP is still 6% below 2007 levels and will remain so until 2016. In addition, if growth continues at the current rate, employment will only reach 2007 levels in seven years, which means in 2021. According to the report's estimates, at the end of 2015, Catalonia will record a 3% GDP growth.
Memòria Econòmica de Catalunya is an annual analysis of the economic situation in this Autonomous Community, including articles and studies by eminent economists. On Friday, the conclusions of its 50th edition were presented at the La Llotja de Mar building (Barcelona), confirming the acceleration of the Catalan economy's recovery during 2014 and the first half of 2015. During the presentation, Catalan Business Minister, Felip Puig, took the floor, warning that "there can be no economic growth without further major commitment to social justice''. "We cannot fall into the mistake committed in the years leading to the economic crisis: growing quickly – in a fictitious and greedy way – and abandoning the purpose of creating a cohesive society where social justice is a real priority for everyone, businessmen included", the Minister added.
2014 "was a year of good news" for the Catalan economy, Poveda said
During the presentation of the report, economist Carme Poveda from the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce and Director of this year's edition explained that 2014 "was a year of good news". The study shows that the virtuous circle of recovery has already been completed and is expected to be consolidated during 2015 and 2016, if there are no external geostrategic factors intervening to break this positive trend.
In Catalonia, the recovery accelerated during the first quarter of 2015, which closed with a 2.6% annual growth rate, 1.6 points above the average registered across the 19 countries of the eurozone. At the end of 2015, the study estimates that Catalonia will register a 3% GDP growth. However, 2014 GDP was still 6% below the 2007 level (when the crisis started) and will remain so for two years, until 2016.
Reaching pre-crisis employment levels will take more time. The authors of the report foresee that if current growth continues, employment will not attain 2007 peak levels until 2021. Poveda recalled that in 2014 – for the first time since 2007 – the Catalan economy closed the year with net positive results in employment growth, as 63,000 more jobs were created.
The economic recovery is partly explained by a 3.1 % increase in the export of goods, especially towards the European markets (+6.3%), while outside the eurozone the trend was less significant (+2.2%). In addition, tourism played a leading role in promoting the economic recovery. 2014 was the best year yet for this sector and in 2015, according to the study's estimates, this trend will continue.
More jobs in all Barcelona's counties
Barcelona's counties recorded 1.2% Gross value added (GVA) growth which is higher than the Catalan average of 1.1%. In particular, the tourism sector performed very well, with a 2.6% increase in employment, well above the 2.1% Catalan average. In Barcelona, all counties recorded increases in employment although the most dynamic were Osona, Vallès Occidental and Vallès Oriental, Maresme and Garraf, with a 4% increase in employment.
Girona's growth close to Catalan average as exports towards the EU grow
In Girona, the estimated GVA growth rate stood at 1.1% at the end of 2014, an increase similar to the Catalan average and the same recorded for the last two years. The good performance of the industry sector (especially the meat sector) – with exports to EU markets increasing – offset the poor performance of the construction sector. As in Barcelona, all Girona's counties registered increases in employment, with the Baix Empordà standing above the other counties' average with over a 5% increase.
The only counties which registered declines in employment were in the Province of Lleida
GVA growth in Lleida stood at 0.8%, which means 0.3 percentage points below the Catalan average, a situation that had not been recorded in previous years. On the one hand, fruit and vegetable exports remained stable, while the export of animal feed fell by 20%, which explains the 2.1% fall in exports overall. The only Catalan counties which registered declines in employment during 2014 are located in the province of Lleida, among them: Val d'Aran, Pallars Jussà and Garrigues. The reason for this decrease lies in the bad tourist season in the Pyrenees and Val d'Aran. However, the study does note that Lleida's unemployment rate is the lowest in Catalonia.
Employment figures improve especially on the coast of Tarragona
Finally, Tarragona recorded a 0.9% GVA increase in 2014, 0.2 percentage points below the Catalan average, because of a less dynamic domestic demand and export sector, which registered a 1.1% decline. All Tarragona's counties recorded increases in employment, especially the coastal ones, thanks to the good performance of tourism on the Costa Daurada, where there were 3.9% more arrivals.
'Memòria Econòmica 2014' includes analyses by prominent Catalan authors
For the first time, 'Memòria Econòmica 2014' includes an analysis of the Catalan economy with a focus on the different provinces and counties, in addition to several monographic articles written by prominent authors such as: the Dean of the Catalan College of Economists, Joan B. Casas, Guillem López Casasnovas, Salvador Alemany, Daniel Albalate and Germà Bel, Esther Martínez-Garcia, Pilar Cos and Blanca Escardíbul and Agustí Segarra. This 50th edition of the report also includes a case study on the Catalan economy during the last 50 years, written by economists Martí Parellada and Gemma Garcia of the University of Barcelona.