The goal of having industry represent 20% of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP) seems increasingly like a pipe dream. Instead of gaining weight in the national economy, industry is retreating.
The latest indicators point to a slowdown in manufacturing, increasing the risk that industry’s contribution to GDP could fall below last year’s figure of 14%. The only time when this number was 20% was in the 1990s.
Spain’s industrial sector is more exposed to international events than other areas of the economy, and it has been feeling the effects of the ongoing China-US trade war, as well as Brexit, as the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union is commonly known, and the sluggishness of the German economy. Still, Spain has been more resilient to the global slowdown because its industrial sector is smaller than those of other countries.
The consultancy company Equipo Económico warns that “there has been a contraction in the export of goods, and even more intensely in imports, as a result of the increasingly complex international scenario.”
Figures show that industrial activity only grew 0.1% in the second quarter of this year compared with 2.3% growth for the whole of the economy, according to figures from the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE). Industry contributed 2,000 more jobless claims (up to 165,600) on a year when the number of unemployed in Spain has dropped by around 260,000, according to the latest EPA workforce survey.