The productivity of Spain's economy has fallen by 7.3% so far this century, while the European Union's has improved

The Spanish economy's productivity per hour of work and capital invested has fallen by 7.3% so far this century. Spain from other countries that made important advances during the same period America (+15.5%), Germany (+11.8%), United Kingdom (+8.8%) or France (+0.8%). Like Spain, Italy According to the data analyzed by the first report, it has also lost the performance of its workforce and its capital during the same period with a delay (-5.1%). Monitoring Productivity and Competitiveness in Spain (OPCE) who initiated BBVA Foundation And this Valencian Institute of Economic Research (Ivy).

The study, released this Friday, highlights the lack of progress Total Factor Productivity (PTF) reduces growth GDP per capita and widening the gap with countries that manage to improve their performance. Therefore, the distance between Spain and the EU is calculated as Income per citizen It has increased from 2.4% in 2000 to 14.4% in 2022.

“Spain is consistently below the EU on the level of this indicator ability “Which firms use labor and available capital (machinery, equipment, real estate assets, infrastructure) to create added value,” says the report directed by the researchers. Francisco Perez, Matilde Maas, Dirk Billet and Juan Fernandez de Guevara.

In short, “this evolution of performance a Poor utilization of resources used,” the report says. “Spain's productivity deficit relative to other countries limits its range. International competitiveness Because part of its production system is inefficient, reducing cost advantages during competition and improvements Personal rent Y welfare” he concludes.

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Spain ranks last in intangible investment among advanced economies

2000 to four levels

Through this analysis, OPCE distinguishes at least four stages during the 22 years of this century. A first level, Between 2000 and 2013, This included a sharp decline in productivity in Spain of 6.2%, weighed down by the financial crisis and, above all, the bursting of the real estate bubble, which left the country full of empty houses, complexes and offices (or, that is, the same thing, full of unproductive properties).

In the second moment, in between 2013 and 2019 The report found a 1.2% growth in productivity, which, while very small, “represents a small change in its evolution.”

However, the pandemic halted this revival in productivity, with its index registering a sharp decline of 5.1%. In 2021, Hospitality, transport, entertainment and artistic activities reflect the impact of the health crisis, with a greater relative weight in the Spanish economy.

After the pandemic, the indicator grew again, 2.8% overall. Between 2021 and 2022 (1.4 points per year), as highlighted in the BBVA Foundation and Ivy's report, is recovering quickly after the previous crisis.

Slow work progress and capital decline

A balance of these four levels results in a decline of 7.3% Total factor productivity According to the OPCE analysis, slow progress is the result of a combination of Performance per hour And a deep regression Capital goods.

The work productivity, Gross domestic product is calculated by dividing the total Hours worked by employeesThe annual average was able to grow 0.7% Since the turn of the century. (Although this improvement is less than 1.1% in the EU or 1.4% in the US).

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At the same time, the Capital productivity —added value created per unit of available capital endowments (machinery, technical equipment, real estate, public and private infrastructure)—declined by an average of 1.2% each year between 2000 and 2022, as accumulated investment outpaced added value. was created.


Ivy economists relate this Poor productivity per hour “Poor educational results” in Spain, temporary employment and low levels of employment in highly qualified sectors (which still have a relatively low weight in Spain compared to other developed countries) “prevalence of deprofessionalized management models” in many companies also contribute to the poor productivity of the labor factor in the Spanish economy.

But above all, low Spanish productivity is the result Real estate positioning And Weak investment in immovable assets (R&D, software and databases, design, brand image, company training for its workers, innovative organizational structures, etc.), are more capable of improving company performance. Compared to advanced economies, Spain occupies The latest state of intangible investment. even if it intends to do so andl 40.5% of total investment, this percentage is 20 percentage points lower than in practice in the United Kingdom, Finland, the United States, France or Sweden. In terms of GDP, there is investment in intangible assets in Spain About 9.5%, nearly half the rates of France, Sweden or the United States. Overall, the OPCE report found a “positive change in trend” in the Spanish economy.

Meanwhile, the Spanish economy has yet to digest its consequences 2008 Real Estate CrashIts burden “continues to this day because real estate assets are highly durable and remain partially unused for decades, incurring debt repayment and financial costs for the companies or households that own them,” the report explains.

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To overcome the productivity problem identified in the Spanish economy, the OPCE highlights the need to strengthen “Five Live Levers”: Productivity investment, human capital, innovation and other intangible assets, digitization and production dynamics of firms.

Along with these direct drivers, should encourage “Indirect Levers” for productivity such as promoting international trade and foreign investment policies; regulatory and competition policies; labor market policies; and industrial and regional policies.

The members of the observatory also pointed out Spain, JTogether Italy and Estonia, They are the only countries in the eurozone to adopt the European Commission's recommendation in 2016. National Production Councils To solve these problems.

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