Long term unemployment up 43% in 2011

INEThe number of people that have been unemployed for three years or more increased 43.0% in 2011, according to new figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

Most Spanish workers had a boss but no subordinates in the year 2011. According to the results of the subsample variables of the Economically Active Population Survey, seven out of 10 workers were in this situation, since they had jobs as employees (with a boss and without subordinates).

9.9% of the total employed persons in 2011 were independent workers (without a boss or subordinates); 6.6% were managers; 7.0% were directors of small companies, departments or branches; 5.7% were middle managers, and 0.8% were directors of large or medium-sized companies.

The percentage of employees remained the same with regard to 2010, that is, at 69.8%, whereas the percentage of managers decreased two tenths.

By sex, the percentage of male directors at least doubled the percentage of female directors, in all company sizes. In the case of the employee job, the percentage of women (77.6%) exceeded the percentage of men (63.4%).

Working conditions

92.6% of the persons employed in 2011 did not work any day in their home. 2.7% did so occasionally, and 4.0% worked from home on over half of their working days.

One in three persons (35.0%) worked at least one Saturday per month, one tenth more than in 2010. For 62.5% of employed persons, Saturday was not part of their working week in 2011.

Working on Sundays was again less customary. 78.6% of employed persons did not work any Sunday. In turn, 4.3% worked one Sunday a month (two tenths more than the previous year) and 15.9% two or more Sundays (five tenths more).

12.2% of employed persons worked the night shift (11.6% in 2010). 6.1% did so occasionally, and 6.1% on more than half of their working days. The percentage of male night shift workers (14.6%) surpassed the number of female night shift workers (9.3%).

Considering the type of hiring, the percentage of wage earners hired though a temporary employment agency (TEA) decreased from 3.0% to 2.7% in 2011, whilst 2.5% found employment through the intermediation of a public employment office (one tenth more than in 2010).

Dependency

A total of 359,500 persons worked part-time, for the purpose of having more time available to care for dependent persons in the year 2011, which were 0.6% less than in 2010.

Almost the entirety of those working part-time, in order to simultaneously work as carers, were women. 55.9% of them were of the opinion that there were not adequate services for caring for dependants, or they were unable to afford them.

Unemployed persons

The majority of unemployed persons were previously employed. In fact, for 52.1% of them, the main reason for having stopped working in the year 2011 was the end of the contract.

The number of unemployed persons who left their last job three or more years ago increased 43.0%, reaching 704,900. This figure accounted for 15.4% of the total unemployed persons, 3.9 points higher than in 2010.

You can download the full report here: Economically Active Population Survey – Subsample variables Year 2011

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The Potential Pitfalls of Relocating to Spain

Leave the rain behind you
Head to Spain and leave the rain behind you…

Most of us dream of living life slowly in the sun. Many Brits try to realise this dream by moving abroad. Australia, the States and France are all popular relocation destinations, but nowhere rivals Spain when it comes to the number of British expats. It is estimated that over half a million British people live in Spain, which is more Brits than any other country outside Britain. The most common reasons for moving include the weather, the easy going lifestyle, the vibrant culture and the adventure of living abroad.

However in many cases the dream has turned into a nightmare and the current economic issues in Europe, Spain in particular, have made living in Spain a completely different ball game to how it was pre-2007. There are a number of things that you should consider before committing to a move and as with most things; it’s not always as straight forward as it is made out to be.

To help you avoid making the same mistakes as others we have provided a rundown of the main pitfalls of moving to Spain.

1. The State of the Spanish Economy – At the moment this is by far and away the main reason not to move to the country. If you think the UK economy is in turmoil take a look at Spain’s. Unemployment is at almost 25% and climbing. This makes the UK’s 8% look positively encouraging. Spain’s high unemployment rate translates to a mind-bending 1.5 million households that have no earners. And as bad as things are now it looks set to get even worse with a complete economic collapse likely. The recent multi-billion Euro bailout of Bankia says it all. The weather in Spain might be pleasant but the financial forecast is somewhat bleak.

2. The troubles of returning to the UK –There are countless tales of people who have moved to other countries, often Spain, to retire and live a laidback life only to suffer a disaster that requires them to go ‘home’ again. Illness, death, unhappiness and financial troubles are all common reasons for expats realising that their dream isn’t what they had hoped for. But if you think moving back is as easy as moving away think again.

Most people sell their UK home to buy a Spanish property. The Spanish property market is cheaper than the UK so most use the money from their home sale to buy a new house with cash left over. The leftover cash inevitably gets spent elsewhere. If disaster does strike and you have to sell your home in Spain to move back to the UK you, like many others, could find yourself out of pocket and struggling to maintain the standard of living you’re used to, back in the UK. Is this a position you want to be in?

The financial uncertainty mentioned above makes this problem ten times worse. Keeping a home in the UK and bank accounts with UK based banks is always wise.

3. It simply isn’t what you’re used to – Life in Spain is very different to the UK and adapting can be very challenging. A new culture, language and society can be hard to grasp. Everything moves at a much slower pace and it isn’t as easy to get everyday tasks done. Banks open at inconvenient times, most shops close for lunch and people generally do less than people in the UK. British manners and conduct don’t apply in Spain. The person who shouts loudest is usually the person who gets served first and waiting quietly and politely won’t get you anywhere. The same attitude applies to driving and indicators are seldom used.

It’s not necessarily a worse way of life; it’s just one that you won’t be used to. The best way of finding out if it will suit you is to go on a long self-catered holiday there. Have a look at short term homes to rent. Having to do things for yourself will open your eyes to the reality of living abroad and will help you to answer the question; do I really want to live in Spain?

There are many factors that make moving to Spain an attractive proposition. The food, weather and laidback lifestyle are all great. However there are also some major pitfalls and now more than ever do you need to consider if it’s the best path to take. Be realistic. Is moving to a country that has a severe economic crisis looming really the best idea? The houses for sale might be cheap but things could get worse.

PropertyLive.co.uk is a leading UK property authority, with thousands of current rental and sale properties available. To find out more click here, or here to view rentals.

Never a Better Time to Invest in Spain

Guest post by David Showell

The world’s economic difficulties seem to have dominated the headlines in our newspapers and on our televisions for three or four years now and there is currently very little sign of an end to the problems. No doubt a recovery of some sort will come some day, but at the moment it seems a very long way off. Perhaps unsurprisingly, investment in property is one of the first activities that slows up during any recession, and that’s certainly the case with the current one.

It’s hugely important to remember that it’s not all doom and gloom at the moment, though. For anyone who is considering the purchase of a home, especially a holiday home, there are some wonderful bargains just waiting to be snapped up. The same properties will cost a significant amount more in three or four years when the economy has recovered, so anyone who is in a position to buy will need to think hard about whether to do so now.

In several countries across Europe, the effects of the recession have been dramatic, and Spain is one of the nations which have suffered the most. Along with Greece, Portugal and Ireland, we’ve been fed regular media stories about the hardships, and it seems the whole continent will continue to face problems for a while yet. The Spanish property scene is relatively stagnant at the moment, but experts tend to agree that prices are noticeably low.

Plenty of choice, plenty of value

Bargain property
“Spain is home to a stunning selection of properties”

Needless to say, buying a holiday villa during economic difficulties is something of a gamble, but it’s generally assumed that prices are unlikely to dip any lower. Therefore, now could be an excellent time in which to dip the toes in the water. Thanks to a construction boom that lasted several decades before the economic upheavals, Spain is home to a stunning selection of properties of all shapes and sizes, so the purchaser can be sure of an excellent choice.

Of course, the country has been welcoming expatriates on a permanent basis for many years, and although the tide of emigrants has slowed down in recent times, a significant number of Britons still relocate to Spain every month. Attracted by the stunning climate, the friendliness of the locals and the pleasingly slow pace of life, there have been some recently who came because they found a great deal on the property market.

Buying a home abroad, whether for holidays or as a permanent residence, is of course a big step, so it’s always best to speak to those in the know first. Anyone who is considering such a purchase would do well to talk to people who have already done so, so the first step in the process should perhaps be to approach an online forum to gauge the opinions of others.

David Showell lives in the UK and has visited Spain on many occasions. When he’s not travelling abroad, he’s working for www.carrentals.co.uk.

More downgrades for Spain

Standard & Poor's
Further downgrades for Spain

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s lowered the credit rating of five Spanish banks on Friday, following the agency’s downgrade of Spain last month.

According to the agency’s statement the downgraded banks are Banco Popular, Bankinter, Banca Civica and the recently part-nationalised Bankia along with its parent Banco Financiero y de Ahorro (BFA)..

“The rating actions follow our review of the wider implications for economic and industry risks in the Spanish banking sector after our two-notch downgrade of the Kingdon of Spain,” the statement said.

Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain’s sovereign debt rating last month to BBB-plus which included a negative outlook, saying it expects the Spanish economy to contract further both this year and next.

Bankia, Spain’s fourth-largest and partially nationalised earlier this month, was downgraded from BBB- to BB+. The banks BFA rating was also lowered to B+ from BB-.

The downgrade comes as the board of Bankia was holding a board meeting to make plans for its recapitalisation amid reports that it may be about to ask the government for up to 20 billion euros from the state to stay afloat.

The state took a controlling 45-percent stake in Bankia by converting a loan of 4.465 billion euros to its parent group Banco Financiero de Ahorros (BFA) into equity.

The ratings agency also cut its rating for Banco Popular and Bankinter to BB+ from BBB- and reduced its rating for Banca Civica to BB from BB+.

Property sales up on previous quarter

The College of Property Registrars released figures on Friday showing that property sales fell by 26% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

However, the figures also showed an increase of 21.9% over the last quarter of 2011. These numbers are misleading though as the last quarter of the year is traditionally slow for property sales.

The report suggests that the increase is a result of the “especially intense” price drops seen across Spain although I suggest the increase is more likely due to people not shopping for property around Christmas, as is usually the case.

The report says the number of property transactions recorded in the first quarter shows a “relative recovery” in the property market over the last nine months.

The fall in house prices coupled with the continued reduction in IVA on new property sales have encouraged buyers and injected some life into the ailing property market.

El Economista reported that new home sales rose 29.4% compared to the previous quarter with 48,691 sales registered. The sale of second hand properties increased by 14.4% to 43,520 transactions.

All regions recorded an increase in property sales over the previous quarter. The greatest volumes were reached in Andalusia (17,240), Madrid (13,685), Catalonia (12,760) and Valencia (11,590).

Bankia share trading suspended

Red light on trading
Red light on trading

Share trading in Spain’s Bankia has been suspended over fears that it may be about to ask the government for a €15 billion bailout.

The news follows a recent “bailout” which saw the Spanish government put €4.5 billion in to the bank which was then converted to shares making the state a major shareholder, essentially nationalising the struggling bank.

A board meeting is planned for this afternoon to attempt to secure the bank which is Spain’s fourth largest.

Bankia is drowning under €32 billion of toxic debt from property loans and although they are not the only ones,  most other Spanish banks don’t seem to be as badly affected.

Last week the bank was forced to speak out to reassure it’s customers that things would be fixed following reports that customers had rushed to withdraw their cash. According to reports up to €1 billion euros was withdrawn resulting in a 30% drop in the banks share price.

Bad management, irresponsible lending… I say let it die.

Best of British in Spain

British!EXPATS are being invited to take part in an event showcasing the best of British on the Costa del Sol.

British National Day is an opportunity for businesses, charities and those with special interests to promote what they do, at La Trocha Shopping Centre on July 28.

The day will feature over 25 stalls with a British theme and various performers offering a range of entertainment.

For more information, contact Jo Taylor. Email: chairman@coinrbl.info or tel: 663 157 776

Centro Comercial La Trocha
Carretera Coín-Cártama, Km 1
29100 Coín
952 45 23 50
www.centrolatrocha.com‎

See map of the location: La Trocha

Source: The Olive Press

Welcome reduction in Capital Gains Tax

The Spanish government have announced a very welcome reduction in capital gains tax (Plusvalia) on second homes or investment properties purchased between May 11th and Dec 31st 2012. The reduction will be applied when the property is sold.

The announcement was made by Ana Pastor, head of Public Works, which includes the housing department, and could be a welcome boost for the property market.

Everyone is entitled to the reduction, both individuals and companies, residents and non-residents, but it will not apply to sales between parents and their children, nor will it apply to main residences which already benefit from a reduction.

The current capital gains tax rates for 2012 are as follows:

Residents

0-6,000 euros – 21%
6,000 – 24,000 euros – 25%
24,000 euros or more – 27%

Non-residents

Flat rate of 21%

All of the rates above will benefit from a 50% reduction if the property being sold was purchased between the specified dates.

This is a welcome stimulus for the property market that has been struggling to recover from the bubble which burst in 2007 leaving thousands of empty, unsold or incomplete properties all over Spain.

Further clashes in Gibraltar-Gate fishing dispute

Royal Gibraltar Police
Gibraltar’s Maritime Police are a busy unit

Spanish and Gibraltarian police have clashed once more over fishing rights in the waters around the Rock.

For two nights in a row police from both countries have been patrolling the water that Gibraltar claim is theirs, and Spain claim is Spanish.

Reports suggest that Royal Gibraltar Police boats surrounded three Spanish fishing vessels after they cast their nets close to Gibraltar harbour the previous night.

The Gibraltarian news agency said several Spanish Guardia Civil boats then appeared and seemed to assist the fishermen, despite being ordered to leave by the Gibraltarian police.

A quick change of heart followed and the Spanish boats left the area after a Royal Navy vessel arrived and reiterated the order to leave.

Gibraltarian police say the Spanish fishing boats were using large nets which is illegal in the area due to environmental law but Spain claims sovereignty over the British colony and ministers support the rights of the Spanish boats to fish there.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague is due to meet his Spanish counterpart in London on Tuesday and the long-running dispute is unlikely to be ignored. However, Spain’s foreign ministry made assurances that the dispute will not affect its “excellent” relationship with Britain.

“Spain hopes that these incidents will not repeat themselves and that the question of legitimate fishing rights can be resolved through collaboration and negotiation,” said a spokesman for the Spanish foreign ministry.

The UK has seen Gibraltar as a colony since 1713 when it was ceded to Britain “in perpetuity” under the Treaty of Utrecht following the capture of the island from the Spanish in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession when it was taken by Anglo-Dutch forces.

Five Good Reasons to up Sticks and Move to Spain

Guest post by David Showell

In recent years, a growing number of people have turned their backs on their countries of origin to sample life in pastures new, and even during a period of economic recession the human tide shows little sign of abating. Among the most popular destinations of all is Spain, one of the jewels in Europe’s crown. If you’re thinking about joining the España-bound émigrés, here are five good reasons to do so.

Climate

Relax - you're in Spain!
Relax – you’re in Spain!

It’s impossible to talk about the benefits of living in Spain without mentioning the stunning weather. Millions of people flock to the country every year for their annual holiday, purely because the hot sun and cloudless skies are almost guaranteed. There’s something wonderfully pleasing about enjoying meals outside, even at night, and the chance to top up the tan on one of the many beaches should never be under-estimated.

People

The Spanish people, by their very nature, are friendly and welcoming, and they have enjoyed excellent relations with the British for many decades. Spain was the first country to develop the modern package holiday, and Britain’s tourists were the first to discover it, so in recent years there has always been a strong bond between the two. The locals love to take pride in their country, and they tend to welcome people who appreciate it.

Lifestyle

If you plan to move from the UK to Spain, one of the first things you’ll notice about your new home is the slower pace of life. Outside of the major cities there is a relaxed attitude that tells you life is for living, and it may take a little while to get used to. When you first arrive you might find this part of the transition a little irritating, but in time you’ll soon start to embrace and even enjoy it.

Property Prices

At the moment, there’s no getting away from media reports about the recession, and Spain has suffered greatly in the recent financial difficulties. Although there are plenty of bad luck stories to be heard, it’s worth remembering that now is subsequently a good time to buy a home in this beautiful country. Current prices are relatively low, but many experts are quick to point out that a recovery will see house values climb quickly.

Health

Thousands of people who have made the switch to Spain in recent years have found out just how beneficial the warm weather and the clean air can be. The health issue is a hugely important one, of course, and the recuperative effects of the climate should not be under-estimated.

David Showell lives in the UK and is a big fan of life in southern Europe. When he’s not day-dreaming about a move to the sun, he’s working for a car hire company. Their website showcases some excellent deals to many destinations.