ECONOMY

Government promises to create 600,000 jobs in two years

But Rajoy administration admits employment levels it inherited in 2011 will not return until 2018

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos.
Economy Minister Luis de Guindos.Chema Moya / EFE

The government has promised to create 600,000 jobs between 2015 and 2016 despite admitting that employment would not return to the levels it inherited when it came into power in 2011 until 2018, three years after the current legislature ends.

According to the macroeconomic framework approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday, employment will grow 0.6% this year, 1.2% in 2015 and, in 2016, hopefully pick up steam with a rise of 1.5%, always in terms of the national accounts.

But the improvement will not be sufficient to compensate for the decline that the labor market has suffered since 2011, when Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party came to power.

Between 2012 and the start of 2014,1.2 million jobs were destroyed, according to the most recent Active Population Survey for the first quarter of the year, which shows a new drop in employment.

They are very conservative hypotheses” Economy Minister Luis de Guindos

The new macroeconomic framework also includes an improvement in the unemployment rate, which is predicted to decrease to an average of 24.9% this year and reach 23.3% in 2015. But the drop is likely to owe more to a decline in the active population and to part-time jobs than a return to the levels of employment seen at the start of the crisis. The unemployment rate is not set to fall below 20% until 2017 after reaching 21.7% in 2016.

Regarding growth, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos confirmed the new forecasts that predict GDP to increase 1.2% this year and 1.8% in 2015, five and six tenths more than previously predicted. This is expected to rise to 2.3% in 2016 and 3.0% in 2017.

“They are very conservative hypotheses,” said De Guindos about the prudent parameters – a mix of interest rates, the euro exchange rate and fuel prices – used to create the new accounts.

The minister also highlighted that “for the first time” both the export sector and internal demand would provide positive contributions, which in his opinion was “an example of much more balanced growth.”

Consumer spending, he confirmed, would rise for the first time in three years, as would investment.

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