As you may or may not now, Spain has recently suffered one heck of an economic crisis. If it were a roller coaster, it would be one of big and scary bastards you see in the USA.
Spain's economy took such a beating that it will take decades to recover. I'm not saying that it won't grow but the damage done to a generation of Spaniards has no short-term fix.
Think of the millions of people that lost their jobs and were out of the labor market for years.
I know one lady that took 4 years to find another job after she was fired in 2010. When she did get back into the job market, she found that salaries had also decreased enourmously since her last employment.
The comfortable €3000/month salary she was earning previously turned into €1200 in the 'new' economy.
Spain's internal devaluation meant that salaries had to lower if Spain was to ever become competitive again.
Sure, exports went up but if you wern't an exporter, also you saw was your salary stagnate.
Civil servants had their salaries slashed as the government reduced the amount of times they got paid from thirteen to twelve.
I was working with public servants at the time and I can tell you they were not amused. No more expensive ham and seafood at Christmas time for them.
Anyway, I recorded this video in 2016 when I could finally see some green shoots in the ecomomy.
The crisis is over
Spain's economic crisis is over. Consumer confidence is back and people are spending money with a vengeance.
You can tell when Spain's economy starts to crank up again because cranes take over the landscape and restaurants are full of construction workers at lunchtime.
I live in a city about 15km from the centre of Madrid and the current building activity here reminds me of 2003-05.
Don't get me wrong, I understand that the construction sector is an important part of any economy but here it's something else.
When the crisis hit Spain in 2008, housing projects all over the country were abandoned. The builders literally put down tools and walked off the site. These houses have been sitting in an abandoned state ever since.
We were told that Spain had an oversupply of houses that would take a decade to digest. Banks had an endless supply of houses on their books but there was no one to buy them.
Then, in 2016, the cranes slowly started to pop up again. Now it's business as usual.
It seems there is no limit to the demand for new houses. Even some of the abandoned projects are starting again.
Not everyone works in the construction sector. Unemployment is still high but jobs are being created.
Some people are sceptical. This article shows that the economic recovery has come at a cost.
The middle class has really been hit hard. Inequality is greater that before. Millions of young people had to ply their skills abroad.
People have less spending power, have lost faith in their politicians, and are not optimistic about the future.
The lack of government spending during the crisis has also left schools and hopitals in pretty bad shape.
Have any lessons been learned? I hope so.
Let's hope that the next economic downturn doesn't last for 8 years.
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