Seeking Alpha

Spanish unemployment hit the "astronomical" level of 5.4M at 2011's end, says PM Rajoy. With the...

Spanish unemployment hit the "astronomical" level of 5.4M at 2011's end, says PM Rajoy. With the official figures not yet out, a bit of math suggests the unemployment rate jumped from 21.5% to about 23.2% - an astounding move in just 3 months. One wonders what's ahead as the government is set to unleash a new wave of austerity measures.
Comments (34)
  • Everyone has been looking at Greece and Italy…this is the big one. If Spain isn't careful default will be the least of their problems…civil war could break out.
    15 Jan 2012, 08:00 AM Reply Like
  • Spanish debt to GDP is lower than safe Germany.
    They have a liquidity problem not a solvency problem.

     

    But people now balk at lending them money

     

    Why?

     

    For all of you who jabber endlessly about the US debt to GDP issue - consider the Spanish conundrum. Italy is the same. they run a primary surplus. Compared to the US they are chanelling Hayek.

     

    And yet now people balk at lending them money

     

    Why?

     

    It's the economy stupid.

     

    Austerity for these nations is a dead-end. It will not solve their underlying issues and only make things worse. It is hard to make the needed reform in an socitey that is frozen with fear and where all change is perceived as leading to more poverty.

     

    E
    15 Jan 2012, 11:33 AM Reply Like
  • This is misleading. Ireland went from having an enviably low debt/gdp ratio to bust nearly overnight when it brought the debts of its banking system onto the national balance sheet.

     

    Markets are factoring a bit of the same for Spain. The country may indeed have a solvency problem.

     

    As for primary surplus vs. what the budget actually is, it reminds of Warren Buffett who says he gets the shudders when he hears analysts talking about EBITDA. It's the bottom line that is important.
    15 Jan 2012, 12:58 PM Reply Like
  • Doesn't look like much if anything is getting any better anywhere in the EU. How much longer will it be before worldwide equities get the message?
    15 Jan 2012, 03:14 PM Reply Like
  • @E,
    I agree it's the economy…but there is also a demographics vs available living wage jobs vs 'technological..we don't need as many workers to turn out the same result' issue. The human race is running into a problem of too many people and not enough living wage jobs.

     

    Spain is an excellent example….the US an even more glaring one.
    15 Jan 2012, 09:01 PM Reply Like
  • In the old days Europe broke out in a war. This idea of peaceful summits is a new idea to its long long history.
    15 Jan 2012, 08:03 AM Reply Like
  • Bbro, can you spin that? I want to hear good news!!

     

    Here in the US, job openings have stagnated. Food stamps have hit all time records. And non-seasonally adjusted we created a measly 1M jobs in 2011.

     

    In Europe things are worse. Rampant unemployment, lack of income growth and coming austerity measures are the best recipe for a depression.
    15 Jan 2012, 08:28 AM Reply Like
  • Lets see how they put lipstick on this pig.
    Gotta feel for the people over there.
    15 Jan 2012, 08:06 AM Reply Like
  • How many of the Spanish unemployed worked for the government?
    15 Jan 2012, 08:53 AM Reply Like
  • If the money supply were allowed to grow employment would follow.
    15 Jan 2012, 09:25 AM Reply Like
  • I don't see it. American companies have historically high amounts of cash on hand. American banks are awash with ZIRP money.

     

    I have a gut feeling that this goes beyond plans and papers, money supply and statistics: The world, and in particular the developed Western economies are facing a very deep---micro/personal revaluing of labor.

     

    The notion the people are unemployed no because there are no tasks to perform, or not enough liquidity I think is a lame and academic/statistical/a...

     

    There is unemployment because the college educated kid in Spain or the USA has been told that they should expect a living wage, their own bedroom, their own private bathroom and their own personal car etcetera---just for walking out the front door. He/she can't imagine himself painting a wall for 8 bucks an hour. When he or she figures out that there are people who will pay him to lay brick, wash dishes, drive trucks, clear land etcetera, they will quickly find work.

     

    And when he figures out that if he charges 7.00 per hour, he'll be the first out of many to be chosen for the job.

     

    If you want to work, there's work out there. You just have to get your head around the fact that it's not at that "living" wage you think you "deserve" or are "entitled to"....

     

    The more we stand around scratching our heads at failed government policies and "interventions" the longer we will wait for real recovery to engage.
    15 Jan 2012, 10:02 AM Reply Like
  • Yes....people should work for minimum wage. Profits are increased, off-shoring continues, and our Galtian overlords wealth as percentage of our economy reaches all-time highs......that pesky thing about income disparities, that have crumbled economies in the past, should be brushed aside.....

     

    We are #1 in stupid mindless self-flagellation as well as in chest thumping self- aggrandizement.

     

    Your solution is to keep catering to our Galtian overlords....from 2001-2008 we did that exactly....and how that worked out?
    15 Jan 2012, 11:42 AM Reply Like
  • anon

     

    bdarken is the messenger not the message and he is right. We have deflationary pressures on labor and inflationary pressures on commodities. Why? Because 2 billion plus people decided they wanted to participate in the world labor force and they want the stuff we have in the western world.

     

    If we could have avoided the internet connecting the world together and shut down our ports of entry we could live in another world but that is not the world we live in.

     

    The cynical mind says this is all about Galtian overlords and all but this misses the real issue which is the massive change in the global economy in the past 20 years.
    15 Jan 2012, 08:58 PM Reply Like
  • So the answer is for kids who spent years of their life and thousands of dollars to work for a wage that puts them in poverty?
    15 Jan 2012, 10:19 AM Reply Like
  • Exactly what is a liberal arts degree in history worth?
    15 Jan 2012, 11:47 AM Reply Like
  • $7 a hour as a restaurant worker.
    15 Jan 2012, 11:51 AM Reply Like
  • It might be worth a lot more if we learned from history.....
    15 Jan 2012, 12:46 PM Reply Like
  • I have one in english. I do heat & air work. ;)
    15 Jan 2012, 03:37 PM Reply Like
  • Create more liberals.
    15 Jan 2012, 06:25 PM Reply Like
  • Spain has had one of the worst housing bubbles. So much of their economy was allocated towards construction that when the bubble burst, jobs were simply vaporized away. But it's not just that they overspent on housing and lost that investment. It's also what they weren't doing when everyone thought housing was the road to riches. They didn't invest in other "stuff" necessary for economic growth. All they have now is excess labor, no capitol, and little else to work with. Oh, and they're still uncovering shady government finances that are making their sovereign debt issue worse.
    15 Jan 2012, 10:50 AM Reply Like
  • You're the 1st to provide an intelligent and accurate comment so far.
    The Housing bubble in Spain was the new El dorado. A lot of Spaniards quit their job & studies to work in construction at the time and when the whole thing bust, everyone took a hit. Mind you all these people were making good money while it lasted. The motivation for the guys was: why should i stay in college 4 years to get a 1500Euro/month job when i can start working now and make 2000Euro/month? If you go visit any college in Spain, you'll notice than most of the students are women, guys usually go straight onto the labor market, mostly construction and service industry. However, one problem i see anchored in the mentality is that employers don't want to put you on the book. A lot of people are working off the book and don't pay taxes. That explains why what you see in the street doesn't reflect the unemployment #'s. I visited Spain last Summer, and all bars and restaurants were full. And they were full with locals, not tourists. Spain didn't look at all like a country in crisis! In a lot of household, the women provide for the family with her regular income and the man gets some freelance work once in a while when he's lucky to find something.
    15 Jan 2012, 01:51 PM Reply Like
  • A lot of people are working off the book and don't pay taxes. That explains why what you see in the street doesn't reflect the unemployment #'s. I visited Spain last Summer, and all bars and restaurants were full. And they were full with locals, not tourists. Spain didn't look at all like a country in crisis! In a lot of household, the women provide for the family with her regular income and the man gets some freelance work once in a while when he's lucky to find something.
    --------
    If Spain is like the USA, then working under the table means that you won't be eligible to collect unemployment if you lose your under the table job and you also won't be eligible to collect the equivalent of SS.

     

    As to the woman becoming the main providers, the same exact thing is happening here. The Amazonian woman are taking over. Men will only be valuable for their sperm. :)
    16 Jan 2012, 02:50 AM Reply Like
  • I'd like to add that Spain is also caught in the Mileuristas culture . That means that way too many workers earn 1000Euros/month.
    According to mileuristas.com , 60% of the working population or 10.4M people earn 1000Euros/month or less. Good luck with that!
    http://bit.ly/AnKkvN
    Very few in Spain can contribute to absorb the inventory of Housing so banks will soon become nationalized and Spain will need a bailout from the EU! So far , Spanish banks have been able to buy some time because they hold profitable investment in Latin America but how much longer can they keep a "Healthy face " ?
    16 Jan 2012, 10:50 AM Reply Like
  • EU same as US, living in dreamland. Get the defaults over with, trigger the CDS, bail-out the US banks again (with some conditions), and start rebuilding on a firm foundation. No other solution than to shed the debt.
    15 Jan 2012, 01:03 PM Reply Like
  • I have a BS in accounting and almost done with my MBA and I barely make double the minimum wage. Are those useless degrees too?

     

    I have already lost faith in the American job network so I stay living at home, spending as little as I can, and investing every dollar I can. At 26 I have 50k worth of investments.

     

    But not everyone is as fortunate as me. I have a good home life and was able to get at least a somewhat decent job. I know alot of my fellow alumni working min wage because they can't find work.

     

    If you people had your way all of us gen Y would be working minimum wage since we had the audacity to go to college and believe education is a good thing....
    15 Jan 2012, 01:08 PM Reply Like
  • Guardian
    Stay with the MBA. You will probably land a better job that requires a relocation if you don't live in a big city. Go for it. It isn't all gloom and doom, if you fall into that trap you'll never land a job----so stay positive. Things were real bad in the 30's but got better.
    Good luck.
    15 Jan 2012, 01:36 PM Reply Like
  • You need to move to another part of the country that pays a better wage. That 50k will fund the move and the initial search for employment.
    16 Jan 2012, 11:48 AM Reply Like
  • No...we want you to make lots of money!

     

    And I for one will pay a premium for people with your core values and the brains to compliment that core character. That combo, in itself, is unique and valuable.

     

    Do not tire of doing the detailed small things. Ignore fireworks the headlines. Find joy in grinding it out. Little trickles become big rivers. The key challenge is managing your mind and spirit along the journey.

     

    You're making peanuts, and you've already built great net worth! In my book, you're already a rock star! Keep up the good work.
    16 Jan 2012, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • Guardian

     

    Once you finish school you realize all you have is a ticket to play but not a guarantee. Now the hard work really begins as you need to compete with everyone in the work force but with your background you have a really good shot.

     

    Move wherever you need to for a job and to get your career started. Work hard and keep pushing forward. Don't stop moving. You will learn a lot just through the struggle. It is still a struggle to stay in the game and I am decades ahead of you.
    16 Jan 2012, 04:08 PM Reply Like
  • No not useless. But the MBA will most likely not pay for itself.
    16 Jan 2012, 05:32 PM Reply Like
  • phxcrane
    That is absolute shortsighted nonsense.
    16 Jan 2012, 05:34 PM Reply Like
  • wyostocks

     

    Thanks, I have two classes left this semester and will graduate in Spring. I have a 3.7GPA, luckily my employer is paying for most of it. I paid for all of undergrad on my own.
    15 Jan 2012, 02:02 PM Reply Like
  • Guardian
    Looks like you are on solid ground with a good head on your shoulders.
    45 years or so ago I also paid my own way and have never had school loans to worry about.
    Go for it and good luck with your future endevours.
    15 Jan 2012, 02:21 PM Reply Like
  • I just wonder how many thousands of points the DJIA will go down when EZ starts breaking apart and goes into a recession.
    15 Jan 2012, 05:50 PM Reply Like
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)