Be Careful What You Wish For: Weak Mass-Tourism Threatens Spain’s Five-Year Economic Recovery

It is impossible to overstate the importance of tourism to Spain’s economy.

When the hordes of tourists left Spanish beaches, resorts and cities at the end of August, there was a larger cull of local jobs than usual. Average social security affiliation fell during the month by 277,500 to 18.535 million people — a 1.47% drop. August is traditionally a poor month for the Spanish labor market, since at the end of it many summer jobs get axed in the tourism and retail sectors. This is one of the drawbacks when a national economy depends so heavily on tourism, which notoriously provides short-term, poorly paid jobs that tend to disappear the moment the tourists head home.

But this was the worst performance in a month of August since 2008, when 244,666 jobs (-1,26%) were lost, just as the global financial crisis was beginning to bite Spain.

And it is most unwelcome news in a country that still boasts one of the highest unemployment rates (15.3%) and youth unemployment rates (33.4%) in Europe, despite four consecutive years of robust economic growth

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