The port of Algeciras. / sur

Andalucía now has more employment, self-employed and exports than before the pandemic

The region has recovered more of the GDP lost through Covid than the national average and foreign investment is one of the factors driving the economy

NURIA TRIGUERO

Two years after suffering the most severe economic earthquake in its history due to Covid-19, Andalucía has not only recovered but also improved its pre-pandemic levels in indicators as important as employment, self-employment, exports and foreign investment. The fast pace of recovery which began last year has also enabled the region to reduce the gap with the national average in terms of GDP per capita.

Andalucía particularly stands out in comparison with other regions in growth of employment. In April 2022 there were 3,309,047 active workers, a record for that month of the year. It has recovered 350,000 jobs since April 2020 and 161,000 more than in the same month in 2019.

Unemployment in the region is also lower than before the pandemic, at 19.43% in the first quarter of this year compared with 21.08% in 2019. This is, however, still one of the highest rates in the country, nearly six points above the national average. In absolute terms, unemployment has dropped by 54,000 in Andalucía since 2019.

The number of self-employed workers has also gone up. At the end of April 566,123 were registered with Social Security and the region has led the growth of self-employment in Spain, not only in the past year, but compared with 2019. There are now over 32,000 more self-employed than three years ago.

Business sector and foreign investment

The business sector has also shown strong growth in the past year. In April there were 249,712 companies registered with Social Security in Andalucía, 10,396 more than in the same month last year. This is not quite back at pre-pandemic level, but is very close.

One of the factors driving the economic recovery is foreign investment, which last year broke the record for the past 11 years at more than 965 million euros. The year-on-year growth was 23%, five points higher than the national average.

GDP

GDP in Andalucía has also advanced by 6.8% in the past year, which was four points more than the national average. This is despite the fact that from March the regional economy slowed down because of a drop in consumption due to the war in Ukraine, the high costs of energy and the strike by the road transport sector. Andalucía is now only 2.7% short of recovering its prepandemic level.

Exports

And finally, exports from Andalucía between January and March this year were worth 10.19 billion euros, the highest figure for the first quarter of a year since comparable records have existed (1995). The interannual rate was 28.1% compared with the same period last year, more than four points above the national average and making the region the second biggest for exports after Madrid.