‘Insiders’: Spain’s unemployment new face

The so-called insiders, 30 to 50-year-old Spaniards with a high diploma who used to have stable, nicely paid jobs, are increasingly unemployed. In its last biannual economic report, presented this Wednesday, ESADE Business School tackles this alarming problem: unemployment in this sector has gone from 3% at the beginning of the crisis in 2008, to 13% today.

“Despite the fact that the unemployment rate of that segment is below the Spanish average, it’s a worrisome growing trend and is not a good sign if we are looking for elements of recovery,” Professor at the Department of Economics at ESADE Ana Laborda says.

Besides, insiders have a good chance to have a home mortgage, which means their situation may directly affect delinquency rates.

If those who were in the best positions compared to the rest of the population are struggling and Spain’s total unemployment rate is more than 27%, one may wonder whether the labor reform has been a success or not.

In any case, there are no reliable expectations of change for the country in the short term, the report points out. Economic activity in Spain will remain stagnant or in decline this year, which will not allow job creation.

Despite the EU’s recently easing austerity goals for some countries and fiscal measures taken to regain the confidence of the markets, there hasn’t been a total U-turn. Growth policies need to be reinforced, experts say. Credit is not flowing and SMEs are not getting funding. Consumption is paralyzed.

“Either peripheral countries accept to live in a recession for a longer period of time, with high levels of unemployment, or the core countries agree to stimulate demand, both in the center and the periphery,” ESADE Professor and author of the report, Josep M. Comajuncosa, explains. In his opinion, that is EU’s next dilemma. If those problems are not solved in peripheral countries such as Italy or Greece, governments may lose the support of their citizens. The fiscal ‘protection shield’ that has enabled the premium risk to stabilize is not enough.

About the Author

Ana Fuentes
Columnist for El País and a contributor to SER (Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión), was the first editor-in-chief of The Corner. Currently based in Madrid, she has been a correspondent in New York, Beijing and Paris for several international media outlets such as Prisa Radio, Radio Netherlands or CNN en español. Ana holds a degree in Journalism from the Complutense University in Madrid and the Sorbonne University in Paris, and a Master's in Journalism from Spanish newspaper El País.

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