Spain’s labour reforms

Protesters shout slogans against job cuts outside Madrid's Bank of Spain

Now Spain is facing with labour market reforms. Madrid’s labour market reforms are unlikely to contribute to improved economic performance, despite recent claims An old spectre is returning.  Spain’s labour market reforms are the basis of the country’s improved economic performance. By limiting possible wage claims and negotiating flexible working conditions, companies in the car industry and beyond have become more competitive and boosted their exports.

Spain’s unemployment rate now is 27,2%, and not falling particularly rapidly. Comparing with the previous year april unemployment rate raised by almost 3 %.  The current account deficit is falling, less as a result of increased exports and more because imports fell dramatically as domestic demand collapsed in the wake of the housing and financial crisis. It is unclear if growth will pick up enough in the short run to avoid a rise in the debt-GDP ratio. Meanwhile official figures in France also showed a fresh record high in unemployment. Some 3.2 million people are now searching  work in the eurozone’s second-largest economy.


Source: tradingeconomics

The total number of unemployed people in Spain has now passed the six million, although the rate of the increase has slowed. Spain’s labor costs have been falling, because businesses are taking advantage of their new found freedom “fire” and “hire.”

The key reason, of course, why even the tiniest shimmer of light has to be greeted with jubilation is that wages are always seen as the problem – even in a financial catastrophe-induced economic crisis. For policy-makers, austerity is ultimately self-defeating: current accounts are outcomes, not policy tools, and competitiveness is difficult to target, consisting, as it does, of price and quality relative to what others do.

Workers and skills may have to be matched more closely  – may be good grounds to reform labour with the demand for them.Spain may have a particularly nasty dual labour market – with well-protected insiders and weak, usually unemployed, outsiders – which requires adjustment so that more unstable work will lead to stable jobs.

But it is naive to think labour market reforms will lead to growth, or even to falling unemployment – except, perhaps, in a very narrow margin. Aggregate unemployment falls, all other things being equal, when economic growth outstrips productivity growth. And with productivity rising fast (possibly, or probably, as a result of the crisis, which may have weeded out the very weak companies, thus pushing up average productivity), and growth limping behind, that is not going to happen soon.

By Andrea Blažević, Antea Božić, Kristina Piene and Agita Sarkane

Source: accessed on 27.04.2013 accessed on 27.04.2013 accessed on 27.04.2013

3 thoughts on “Spain’s labour reforms

  1. Spain has lost 2.9m jobs in four years, with almost 300,000 shed in the latest quarter. It takes an average of 15 months to find work. Some reckon 400,000 more jobs may go this year, pushing unemployment to 25%. Sacking workers has long been a favoured way to reduce costs. With rules that stop people from switching jobs also being relaxed, the labour market will gain new flexibility.

    Explore our interactive guide to Europe’s troubled economies
    Spain’s labour laws, which date back to the Franco era, have condemned half the workforce to unemployment or to temporary jobs while the rest enjoy ironclad contracts and huge redundancy pay-offs. The new law blurs this insider/outsider divide and may thus get more people into stable employment.

    – Kelly, Lauren, Becky.

  2. This reform actually arrived late.This reform is a good solution for a better future.I think will become more flexible employment conditions and pave the way for more flexible working schemes so that companies can facilitate personnel recruiting.According to Jochim Fels and Sung Wone Kang’s ‘’Spain will be Europe’s new was Germany.’’

  3. It’s obvious that Spain has got a lot of work in front of them if they are to save what’s there left to save. Over half of youngsters in Spain are currently unemployed and this is a fact no Spanish can be proud of. Furthermore, housing crisis was especially hard for the citizens of Spain because previously it was a common thought that real estates are a gold mine that can’t ever go dry. It represented, at the time, a safe investment. But all good things come to an end eventually, so when the houses overflooded the market, their value naturally went down, way down. It will be interesting to see how the government will deal with all these and surely some upcoming problems, but obviously, it will not have gone well without some good austerity measures.


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