Spain is growing above the European Union average. Data from the EU statistical agency, Eurostat, on growth in the second quarter of the year consolidate the latest forecasts from Brussels, in which the growth data for Spain improved again in 2021. If in May it increased its forecasts by three tenths For 2021, from 5.6% to 5.9%, in July it rose again, to 6.2%, and was already close to the Government’s forecasts for this year: 6.5% growth after having closed 2020 with a record fall in GDP of 10.8% due to the health, economic and social crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, Spain stood in the forecasts of the Community Executive as one of the countries that will grow the most this year in the European Union, behind Romania (7.4%), Ireland (7.2%) and Hungary (6, 3%).
In contrast, Eurostat data show that Spain was one of the few EU countries that was still losing employment in the second quarter of 2021.
Thus, in the second quarter of 2021, seasonally adjusted GDP increased by 2.2% in the euro area and 2.1% in the EU to 27 compared to the previous quarter. In the first quarter of 2021, GDP had decreased by 0.3% in the euro area and 0.1% in the EU.
Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP increased by 14.3% in the eurozone and by 13.8% in the EU to 27 in the second quarter of 2021, after -1.2% in both zones in the previous quarter compared to the same period in 2020.
During the second quarter of 2021, the GDP of the United States, meanwhile, increased by 1.6% compared to the previous quarter (after + 1.5% in the first quarter of 2021). Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, GDP increased by 12.2% (after + 0.5% in the previous quarter).
Ireland (+ 6.3%) recorded the highest GDP increase compared to the previous quarter, followed by Portugal (+ 4.9%), Latvia (+ 4.4%) and Estonia (+ 4.3%). In contrast, decreases were observed in Malta (-0.5%) and Croatia (-0.2%).
The number of employed increased by 0.7% in both the euro area and the EU to 27 in the second quarter of 2021, compared to the previous quarter. In the first quarter of 2021, employment had fallen by 0.2% in both the eurozone and the EU to 27.
Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment increased by 1.8% in the euro area and 1.9% in the EU in the second quarter of 2021, after -1.8% and -1, 6%, respectively, in the first quarter of 2021. Thus, hours worked increased by 2.7% in the euro area and 2.4% in the EU to 27 in the second quarter of 2021, compared to the previous quarter. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the increases were 17% in the euro area and 14.7% in the EU.
In the second quarter of 2021, Latvia (+ 5.7%), Greece (+ 2.8%), Denmark and Portugal (both + 1.9%) recorded the highest growth in employment in people compared to the previous quarter. In contrast, falls were observed in Estonia (-1.1%) and Spain (-0.9%).
Based on seasonally adjusted figures, Eurostat estimates that in the second quarter of 2021 there were 207.5 million people employed in the EU, of which 159 million were in the euro area.
In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, human employment was below the level of the fourth quarter of 2019: 2.1 million in the euro area and 2 million in the EU to 27.
Forecasts for 2022
As for 2022, the European Commission has lowered the forecasts it made in spring in its summer forecasts for Spain. If in May it calculated a GDP growth of 6.8% next year, in summer it lowered it to 6.3%, as the country that grows the most in the EU (ahead of France and Latvia, with 6%) and above the forecast by the Bank of Spain, which calculated a rise in GDP in 2022, of 5.8%.
Relative to the EU average, Brussels expects EU GDP to grow by 4.8% this year (compared to 4.2% forecast in May) and by 4.5% in 2021 (slightly higher than 4, 4% announced in spring).
“The uncertainty and risks surrounding growth prospects are high, but remain balanced,” says the Community Executive: “The risks of the emergence and spread of variants of COVID-19 underscore the importance of accelerating the pace even further of vaccination campaigns. The economic risks have to do with the response of households and companies to changes in restrictions against the coronavirus. ”
The European Commission is confident that the 27 member states will return to pre-crisis levels before the end of 2022, although the pace of recovery “remains very uneven.”