The economy picks up momentum
The macroeconomic data with which this week ends mark a turning point. The way out of the crisis is beginning to gain momentum, even solidity. The recovery is moving from wishful thinking to reality. If Thursday the Labour Force Survey (EPA) came loaded with positive data for the labour market, with a fall, in the Catalan case, of 21,200 fewer unemployed people and an unemployment rate that stood at 12.28% (Spanish data were also good), this Friday the National Institute of State Statistics has advanced the gross domestic product (GDP), which, despite some issues, remains the main indicator to measure the economy: and again there are figures for optimism. State GDP grew by 2.8% over the first three months of 2021, and in comparison with a year earlier, that is, with the second quarter of 2020, when the economy experienced a sharp fall due to the strictest lockdown, the climb is 19.8%, one of the strongest ever recorded.
In none of the indexes, neither unemployment nor GDP, we are at pre-pandemic levels, but the acceleration is evident, and the trend is clearly upwards. In fact, just this week the research service of the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona stated that the Catalan economy will grow somewhat more than what was expected a few months ago, and emphasised the good performance of sectors such as industry and foreign trade, but also private trade, and even saw reasons for optimism in tourism. Thus, the Chamber countered the messages launched from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the sense that the fifth wave and new restrictions on tourism could slow the Spanish recovery.
In any case, we cannot fall into the temptation of triumphalism or, even less, into some kind of euphoria, but the rebound can no longer be called into question. The indicators point to the fact that we are on the right track and that, if we manage to stop the pandemic once and for all this autumn, 2022, this time, should be the year of the return to a new normality. It has been said and wished so many times that it is even scary to mention it. But, be that as it may, we are no longer just talking about signs. And, in fact, the latest data on the evolution of the virus also invite, from prudence, to a certain hope: the fifth wave would be slowing down, with a reduction of infections in all age groups that could mean the peak of hospital admissions and covid patients in the ICU may not reach the worst forecasts for August and, even in a few weeks, begin to subside. In this sense, good citizen behaviour is crucial. Sociability must continue to be restricted. Prudence must be maintained during the holiday period. We already know what has happened to us when we have wanted to run too much. The delta variant has upset the forecasts. We have the recovery in our hands, let's not spoil it. And let us not forget those sectors of the population that have been left behind and that will take time to feel the upturn personally. Welcome, then, the extension of the social shield - rent moratorium and evictions - until the end of October.