Spain’s economic recovery masks lingering jobs crisis


MADRID: Data shows Spain’s economy recovering, but tell that to Javier Pichel: this summer he packed and left for the only place he could find a decent job—Germany.

Millions of Spaniards are scraping by on benefits, family handouts or working cash-in-hand as they wait for the apparent economic rebound to create the hundreds of thousands of jobs the government is promising.

Experts say that these jobs are being created—but that the problem is many of them only last a few days.

Since leaving school, 22-year-old Pichel from the northwestern Galicia region has racked up training certificates in finance and business, but has received no decent job offers in Spain.

“You can get a contract for three weeks or three months. You’re happy, but you quickly realize that there is no job security,” he said.

Spain’s government is forecasting the economy will grow by 3.3 percent this year, one of the strongest rates in the eurozone.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in 2012 passed reforms making it easier for firms to hire and fire as part of his austerity reforms.

Now he has promised a million jobs would be created over the 2014-2015 period.

Pichel and others his age find that hard to imagine. Opposition parties and labor unions dispute the diagnosis given by the conservative government, which is preparing to fight for re-election in December.

Spain’s unemployment rate remains extremely high at more than 22 percent. One in every two eligible workers under the age of 25 is out of work.



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