Andalucia is an agricultural area, but the services sector now predominates, particularly tourism, retail and transport. The construction sector, once a keystone of the region’s productive fabric, deteriorated considerably during the past year. The industrial sector is less developed than in other regions. In the last months of 2008, the Spanish economy went into recession, therefore the sluggish economic situation is likely to cause all productive activities in Andalusia to decline, except for services, with the downturn particularly affecting construction and industry. The last few years have seen the arrival of a great many foreign workers onto the regional labour market, particularly from Morocco, Romania, Ecuador, Poland and Colombia. During the last year, 11.98% of all contracts were awarded to foreigners and were mostly to cover the agricultural and services sectors.
Nowadays, Andalucia suffers by the worst unemployment rate among the Spanish regions. Unemployment figures in Spain have become a nightmare not just for the government which is on the brink of economic disaster, but also for the workers which are seeing record numbers out of a job. In the province of Malaga over 233,000 are out of a job, pushing the jobless rate to over 30 per cent – the second highest in Spain. On top of the list is Cadiz with an unemployment rate of 31.87 percent according to the latest statistics released by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) 31st April. In the other provinces, the unemployment rate rose to 27.79 Almería percent, Granada (26, 89 percent), Huelva (26.75 percent), Sevilla (25.81 percent), Córdoba (23.5 percent) and Jaén, with a rate of 19.96 percent.
Various reasons are offered for the region’s poor showing in the employment figures. The collapse of the construction industry since the onset of recession is a major factor, together with the high percentage of andaluces who work in tourism, which is highly seasonal and traditionally lays people off during the winter months.