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ECONOMY

Spain notches up steady economic growth

Spain's economy grew at a steady pace in the first quarter, official figures showed Friday, as the country continues to recover from a damaging crisis marked by sky-high unemployment.

Spain notches up steady economic growth
Photo: quintanilla/Depositphotos

Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.8 percent between January and March from the previous three months, slightly higher than the last quarter's 0.7 percent growth, according to preliminary figures from the national statistics institute INE.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy last week upgraded Spain's economic growth forecast for the whole of 2017 to 2.7 percent due to a stronger-than-expected performance at the start of the year.

READ MORE: Spain bumps up its growth forecast as tourism and exports thrive

He added that this new forecast was “prudent” and “below the majority of forecasts.”

Whatever the final number, growth this year will slow compared to 2016 when it reached 3.2 percent as consumption picked up on the back of falling unemployment, strong exports and a thriving tourism sector. Low oil prices and interest rates were also positive factors.

Nevertheless, growth still remains much higher than in the eurozone overall, which saw an average GDP increase of 0.4 percent in the last quarter of 2016, according to the most recent Eurostat statistics.

The Spanish government believes sustained growth will create 500,000 new jobs every year until 2019.

Spain still suffers from a high jobless rate that stood at 18.7 percent at the end of the first quarter – the second highest in the eurozone after Greece.

READ ALSO: Spain's unemployment rate rises for first time in a year

ECONOMY

Spain’s middle-class youngsters the most likely to end up poor across all EU

Spain leads the ranking of EU countries with the highest risk of young people ending up in poverty as adults, despite coming from families without economic difficulties.

Spain is the fourth EU country with the highest inherited poverty
Spain is EU country with most middle-class young people who end up poor. Photo: Jaime ALEKOS / AFP

Spain is also the fourth EU country with the highest rate of inherited poverty risk, according to Eurostat, the EU Statistical Office.

Data on intergenerational poverty indicates that there is a correlation between the financial situation of the household you grew up in and the risk of being poor when you reach adulthood and in Spain, there is a strong link. 

The latest statistics available from 2019 show that the at-risk-of-poverty rate for the EU was 23 percent among adults aged 25 to 59 who grew up in a poor financial situation at home when they were 14 years old. This is 9.6 percentage points more than those who come from families without financial problems (13.4 percent). 

READ ALSO: Spain’s inflation soars to 29-year high

How the situation in Spain compares with the EU

Spain has become the EU country with the highest risk of poverty among adults who grew up in families with a good financial situation  – 16.6 percent.

This was followed by Latvia with 16 percent and Italy with 15.9 percent.

That statistics also show the countries where it is less likely to be poor after growing up in households without economic difficulties. These include the Czech Republic (5.9 percent), Slovakia (7.9 percent) and Finland (8.5 percent).

The overall poverty rate in the EU decreased by 0.1 percentage points between 2011 (13.5 percent) and 2019 (13.4 percent), but the largest increases were seen in Denmark (1.9 points more), Portugal (1.8 points), the Netherlands (1.7 points) and Spain (1.2 points).  

On the other hand, the biggest decreases in the poverty rate were seen in Croatia (-4 percent), Lithuania (-3.6 percent), Slovakia (-3.5 percent) and Ireland (-3.2 percent).

READ ALSO: Spain’s government feels heat as economic recovery lags

Inherited poverty

The stats revealed that Spain was also the fourth country with the highest rate of inherited poverty risk (30 percent), only behind Bulgaria (40.1 percent), Romania (32.7 percent) and Italy (30.7 percent).

This means that children of poor parents in Spain are also likely to be poor in adulthood. 

The countries with the lowest rate of inherited poverty risk were the Czech Republic (10.2 percent), Denmark (10.3 percent) and Finland (10.5 percent).

The average risk-of-poverty rate for the EU increased by 2.5 percentage points between 2011 (20.5 percent) and 2019 (23 percent), with the largest increases seen in Bulgaria (6 points more), Slovakia and Romania (4.3 points), Italy (4.2 points) and Spain (4.1 points).

The biggest drops were seen in Latvia (-8.5 points), Estonia (-8.0 points) and Croatia (-2.3 points). 

The largest gaps in people at risk of poverty when they reach adulthood were in Bulgaria (27.6 percentage points more among those who belong to families with a poor economic situation as teenagers compared to those who grew up in wealthy households), Romania (17.1), Italy (14.8), Greece (13.5) and Spain (13.4).

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