In Spain, like in most Western countries, the 2008 crisis caused an unprecedented drop in industrial employment, the pain of which continues to be felt. In fact, there are almost 500,000 fewer manufacturing jobs than in 2008. Some of this decline, however, reflects an increasingly important shift from industrial firms to service offerings, which is not a bad thing. With the Covid-19 crisis and the EUR 69.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), which will be rolled out over the next five years, strengthening industry in Spain has once again become an important area of focus for the authorities. A quarter of the RRP will therefore be dedicated to this objective. Spain currently enjoys comparative advantages in growth sectors such as the automotive sector and renewable energies, especially. Obstacles (low level of investment, shortage of skilled labour) remain significant, however, and will take time to resolve. In the long term, strengthening and modernising Spanish industry are two key levers to achieve the long-term goals set out in the España 2050 plan, which, among other things, foresees a significant increase in labour productivity and R&D by 2030, and still more by 2050.
What is the current situation?
The successive crises of 2008 and 2011 have left their mark on industry.
Industry’s share (excluding construction) of total value added fell below the 15% threshold in 2019 (14.7%). At this level, Spain finds itself in the last third in Europe, around three points below the European average (see Chart 1). Despite a slight recovery in recent years, almost 480,000 industrial jobs – one in seven in the sector – have disappeared since the subprime mortgage crisis began in 2008. Over the last 12 years, of all European countries, Spain is second only to Greece in terms of the biggest contraction in industrial employment (see Chart 2).
The two successive crises – of subprime mortgages followed by eurozone sovereign debt – left deep marks in the domestic industry. It suffered mainly due to the plunge in domestic demand (private consumption and investment), which was heavily impacted by the crisis itself, but also by the austerity policies that followed under Mariano Rajoy’s government. Between 2007 and 2013, industrial production fell by almost 30% (see Chart 3), which represents both the sharpest post-war decline for the country and one of the largest contractions in developed countries. Industrial production in Spain remains more than 20% below its historic level reached in summer 2007. Manufacturing employment fell by a similar extent in the period 2007-2013 (-29.2% or -877,436 jobs). This crisis was therefore damaging both in terms of its size and its duration, as Spain experienced four years of economic recession over the five years between 2009 and 2013.
However, the manufacturing sector’s share of value added remained relatively stable for almost 10 years, before recovering in 2020 with the coronavirus crisis, which caused a much greater drop in service activity (see Chart 4). Nevertheless, the share of industrial employment has steadily declined and reached a new historic low in 2021. Since then, new jobs have been created in services, but they have not been able to offset the destruction of jobs in industry: at the end of 2019, total employment in the country remained more than 3% below the 2008 level.
Few regions and sectors spared
The downturn has affected all regions of the country. Catalonia, the largest industrial region, has seen manufacturing employment shrink by almost 150,000 jobs since 2008 (see Table 1). Significant declines have also occurred in Madrid, Valencia and the Basque Country. Some regions have managed to maintain a relatively stable industrial base, with more contained job losses: this is the case for Navarra and Rioja, where almost a quarter of jobs still remain in industry, mainly in the automotive and agribusiness sectors.
BNP Paribas is regulated by the FSA for the conduct of its designated investment business in the UK and is a member of the London Stock Exchange. The information and opinions contained in this report have been obtained from public sources believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made that such information is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. This report does not constitute a prospectus or other offering document or an offer or solicitation to buy any securities or other investment. Information and opinions contained in the report are published for the assistance of recipients, but are not to be relied upon as authoritative or taken in substitution for the exercise of judgement by any recipient, they are subject to change without notice and not intended to provide the sole basis of any evaluation of the instruments discussed herein. Any reference to past performance should not be taken as an indication of future performance. No BNP Paribas Group Company accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material contained in this report. All estimates and opinions included in this report constitute our judgements as of the date of this report. BNP Paribas and their affiliates ("collectively "BNP Paribas") may make a market in, or may, as principal or agent, buy or sell securities of the issuers mentioned in this report or derivatives thereon. BNP Paribas may have a financial interest in the issuers mentioned in this report, including a long or short position in their securities, and or options, futures or other derivative instruments based thereon. BNP Paribas, including its officers and employees may serve or have served as an officer, director or in an advisory capacity for any issuer mentioned in this report. BNP Paribas may, from time to time, solicit, perform or have performed investment banking, underwriting or other services (including acting as adviser, manager, underwriter or lender) within the last 12 months for any issuer referred to in this report. BNP Paribas, may to the extent permitted by law, have acted upon or used the information contained herein, or the research or analysis on which it was based, before its publication. BNP Paribas may receive or intend to seek compensation for investment banking services in the next three months from an issuer mentioned in this report. Any issuer mentioned in this report may have been provided with sections of this report prior to its publication in order to verify its factual accuracy. This report was produced by a BNP Paribas Group Company. This report is for the use of intended recipients and may not be reproduced (in whole or in part) or delivered or transmitted to any other person without the prior written consent of BNP Paribas. By accepting this document you agree to be bound by the foregoing limitations. Analyst Certification Each analyst responsible for the preparation of this report certifies that (i) all views expressed in this report accurately reflect the analyst's personal views about any and all of the issuers and securities named in this report, and (ii) no part of the analyst's compensation was, is, or will be, directly or indirectly, related to the specific recommendations or views expressed herein. United States: This report is being distributed to US persons by BNP Paribas Securities Corp., or by a subsidiary or affiliate of BNP Paribas that is not registered as a US broker-dealer, to US major institutional investors only. BNP Paribas Securities Corp., a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, is a broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and is a member of the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. BNP Paribas Securities Corp. accepts responsibility for the content of a report prepared by another non-US affiliate only when distributed to US persons by BNP Paribas Securities Corp. United Kingdom: This report has been approved for publication in the United Kingdom by BNP Paribas London Branch, a branch of BNP Paribas whose head office is in Paris, France. BNP Paribas London Branch is regulated by the Financial Services Authority ("FSA") for the conduct of its designated investment business in the United Kingdom and is a member of the London Stock Exchange. This report is prepared for professional investors and is not intended for Private Customers in the United Kingdom as defined in FSA rules and should not be passed on to any such persons. Japan: This report is being distributed to Japanese based firms by BNP Paribas Securities (Japan) Limited, Tokyo Branch, or by a subsidiary or affiliate of BNP Paribas not registered as a financial instruments firm in Japan, to certain financial institutions permitted by regulation. BNP Paribas Securities (Japan) Limited, Tokyo Branch, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, is a financial instruments firm registered according to the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law of Japan and a member of the Japan Securities Dealers Association. BNP Paribas Securities (Japan) Limited, Tokyo Branch accepts responsibility for the content of a report prepared by another non-Japan affiliate only when distributed to Japanese based firms by BNP Paribas Securities (Japan) Limited, Tokyo Branch. Hong Kong: This report is being distributed in Hong Kong by BNP Paribas Hong Kong Branch, a branch of BNP Paribas whose head office is in Paris, France. BNP Paribas Hong Kong Branch is regulated as a Licensed Bank by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and is deemed as a Registered Institution by the Securities and Futures Commission for the conduct of Advising on Securities [Regulated Activity Type 4] under the Securities and Futures Ordinance Transitional Arrangements. Singapore: This report is being distributed in Singapore by BNP Paribas Singapore Branch, a branch of BNP Paribas whose head office is in Paris, France. BNP Paribas Singapore is a licensed bank regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore is exempted from holding the required licenses to conduct regulated activities and provide financial advisory services under the Securities and Futures Act and the Financial Advisors Act. © BNP Paribas (2011). All rights reserved.