With all the caution in the world, there are beginning to be small signs of recovery in the Spanish economy after the crash, the famous “green shoots” that made Elena Salgado fashionable in the great financial crisis. The May unemployment figures, even if they are bad, they have hopeful signs, like some bank details, such as card sales. But whether they will come true will depend on the speed of return to normality, management of the end of ERTE and removal of quarantine to the foreigners.
For example, the Social Security affiliation has risen around 200,000 people, which compensates the fall of the previous two months. The figure is cheating, because the workers included in an ERTE continue to contribute even if they do not work, with which there are no remaining members; But it is positive that the figure not only does not go down, but rather goes up, which implies that there are already people joining the labor market who were not in an ERTE, but directly unemployed.
Now, of these personnel there is a percentage that corresponds to the public sector, derived from the hiring of doctors, health personnel and social assistance, which will decrease as the health crisis passes because there is not enough budget to maintain that job. On the other hand, it is also significant that close to 500,000 people have already left ERTE and have been able to rejoin to your job in the previous conditions.
CARD PAYMENTS JUST DROP
Another positive element comes from banking. According to industry sources, in May the credit card payments have barely dropped compared to those registered last year. This, a priori, implies that consumption has endured more or less well -that is, many purchases in physical stores have been replaced by online stores- and has recovered with the first relaxation phases of confinement.
Again, nuances must be introduced: almost no cash has been used during confinement, and last year yes; that is, yes, less has been spent, all the part corresponding to physical money in 2019. But there is also a relevant element in the year-on-year comparison, which is the absence of tourists. In this case, on the positive side.
KEEPING GREEN SPROUTS DEPENDS ON GOVERNMENT
Therefore, although incipient, we finally have some rays of light at the end of the tunnel. But these hopes are so fragile that, as happened in the financial crisis, can fade immediately. What will it depend on? Well, as almost all analysts have warned, starting with the Bank of Spain, the speed with which the Government allows the activity to recover its normal rhythm.
And that means the speed with which Pedro Sánchez allows shops and businesses to reopen at full capacity Throughout the national territory; especially in Madrid and Barcelona, the engines of the country and that are precisely the cities that are more delayed in the reopening.
And of course it involves quarantine foreign travelers as soon as possible for a country that receives 83 million tourists a year. But, contrary to what our main competitors have done, the Government remains committed to maintaining restrictions until July despite the fact that he came to announce his immediate withdrawal in one of his numerous lunges (which have cost us that France recommends its citizens not to come to Spain).
Finally, the Nissan and Alcoa cases They demonstrate the need to grant advantages to industrial multinationals, be they fiscal, labor or energy, instead of creating a huge legal insecurity with the swings about labor reform. All of these government decisions will determine whether 2.9 million people who continue in an ERTE recover their jobs or end up permanently unemployed.