Monday, October 18

Editorial ABC: Labor catastrophe



The labor reality in Spain is stubborn, and month by month the expectation that unemployment will begin to decline is diluted. The government’s calculations are based on a basic error because it not only minimizes the recession and the brutal fall in business activity, but also continually takes refuge in European aid that will take time to arrive. The activation of the European fund for the economic reconstruction of each country is still encountering serious difficulties and with the reserves of countries such as Poland and Hungary, among others, and although Moncloa insists that they will be the definitive float of our economy, the harshness of the unemployment data known yesterday only stimulates hopelessness.

Spain now exceeds four million unemployed, a symbolic figure in terms of social alarm, to which must be added more than 900,000 workers immersed in ERTE whose jobs may no longer be recoverable, and several hundred thousand more in training courses than objectively they don’t work either. The number of self-employed without current activity also exceeds half a million. The panorama begins to be catastrophic, and more typical of a kind of labor holocaust than of a curve that touches the ground. We return to unemployment data for 2016, with much more destruction than creation, with a progressive devaluation of contracts, with a fall in average salaries in Spain of more than 3 percent, and with an increasing wage gap. The process of tearing apart the middle class seems irreversible and the government’s growth forecasts are continually corrected by the IMF or the OECD. Furthermore, precariousness, especially among the youngest, puts our labor market in an extreme situation. Any other diagnosis, even for Pedro Sánchez’s most optimistic exercises in demagoguery, is illogical.

Waiting for the European manna is a solution, or part of the solution, but not the only one, because the money will come late and badly, and it is not yet possible to determine how much. Continually repeating, as Pedro Sánchez does, that Spain will receive 140,000 million without conditions is not adjusting to the truth. Our country will hardly have received by the end of the year the 27,000 million euros estimated in the general budgets. Moreover, the trend of these unemployment figures will continue to alter the forecasts of income and expenses of the State, so that our public accounts will be obsolete before the summer. Trusting everything to a recovery that is still very uncertain shows a clear lack of foresight, and precisely the segments of our productive fabric that may begin to turn the situation around – tourism, hospitality, leisure … – still do not receive essential aid from the Government. Sánchez’s announcement of the creation of a new package of funds for small and medium-sized companies lacks a known basis, it will be charged on the debt foreseen in the budgets, and it will not be direct. Our companies need automatic financing, cold and hard money with which to face their abyss, and no more credits and bonuses that they cannot meet for the mere fact that they have no activity. And without companies, there is no employment. Living on permanent subsidies, unaffordable indebtedness, and an absence of certainty is not the ideal path to recovery.

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