So how bad is the economy in Marbella?
For a long time, Marbella enjoyed a privileged situation in Andalucia. In 2003, Marbella was the third municipality with the highest income per capita of Andalucia. It had a growth rate superior to most capital cities of the province including Malaga, Jaen, Huelva and Almeria. This favorable situation was due to an active service sector (60% of jobs) and strong commercial (20%) and construction activities (15%). According to a 2008 study by the Junta de Andalucia, Marbella was the municipality with the best quality of life and social services. Few were complaining…
So where are we now? Here are some fresh statistics from the Junta de Andalucia:
- GDP of Andalucia decreased by 4% in Q2 2009 vs Q2 2008 (on par with Spain at -4,2%)
- Supermaket sales in Andalucia dropped 9.2% in July 2009 vs July 2008
- 31% less companies were created in July 2009 vs July 2008
- Andalucia industrial output dropped by 13% in July 2009 vs July 2008
- In July 2009, unemployment reached 25% (from 15% the year before)
- Hotel occupancy in the Costa del Sol was 83% in August 2009, or 3% less than the previous year. Spanish tourism accounted for 60% of occupancy.
- Default on bank loans to real estate professionals amounted to 8.2% in Q2 2009, 4 times more than last year! However, only 4% more than in Q1 2009, sending a signal of stabilization…
Not a rosy picture, but we know that the situation all over the world is pretty grim. At least in Marbella, many people have enjoyed a good ride, and the more cautious may have generated more wealth than in other parts of the country…
As an entrepreneur, what is particularly disheartening when you see a population with 25% unemployment, is that this conjuncture still offers many opportunities. However, most people continue looking for a job that currently does not exist and hardly try to switch their field of activity or start their own project. Naturally, it is not easy. There is some risk in pursuing new opportunities, you need much time and efforts, you may need to learn new skills, it may be unsettling…
The unemployed have the least to lose. If nothing else, starting a project and remaining active gives hope, a sense of worth and most likely will generate a positive personal outcome. Knowing that 60% of workers in Spain make 1,000 euros per month or less, it is not such a high target to achieve for any business venture. Pretty much any internet activity with a purpose will achieve this after a year or so. And no, you don´t need significant initial capital to start!
So why does Andalusia have such a high unemployment rate? It all boils down to education and flawed policies.
The educational system is not in touch with the future our children will face. The system makes little room for creativity and enterprising. It is still oriented towards a philosophy of ¨Study hard and you will have a great career¨ (read ¨Rich Dad, Poor dad¨by Robert Kiyosaki if you have not done so), while increasingly putting the accent on children´s efforts rather than their results. Even when they are not trying that hard, we do not want to hurt their feelings… Of course, building their confidence is important; of course, we have to give them a chance to find themselves; of course, each kid is unique and grows at a different pace… but it seems the pendulum went too far. The reality is that our children will be competing not with their peers locally, but with well-trained professionals from emerging countries willing to work for a lesser pay. What will our children´s competitive advantage be?
Part of the answer lies in a comprehensive general culture, an understanding of the world and its people, entrepreneurial spirit and motivation. When an economy like Marbella´s lacks diversification, does not plan ahead in the good times and inadequately invests in the education of its youth, it risks running into very bad times….
Filed under: Education, Work | Tagged: economy, Education, future, Marbella, statistics | Leave a Comment »