World Economy

Spaniards Getting Richer

Household wealth in Spain is on the rise.Household wealth in Spain is on the rise.

Recent figures published by the Bank of Spain covering the first quarter of 2017 show household wealth is on the rise.

During the first three months of the year, it increased by 1.74%–by €1.32 trillion ($1.55 trillion)–and 8.5% compared to the same point last year, RTN reported.

Net personal wealth is measured as the difference between someone’s assets–cash, shares, savings, income and fixtures such as homes, land and vehicles–and liabilities, or debts.

By the end of March this year, assets over liabilities showed a positive balance in Spain of €2.111 trillion–4.8% more than a year ago.

The Bank of Spain says the increase in wealth is linked to net acquisition of financial assets to the tune of €39 billion over the first quarter of 2017 and between April and December 2016 inclusive, and these having risen in value by around €58 billion, largely due to more extensive buying of share capital.

 Exiled Spaniards Return Home

Carmen Sanchez Alegre joined an exodus of underemployed young Spaniards in 2013, moving to London to improve her English and find work. She met Sara Garcia, a fellow Spanish immigrant while they worked at a sushi restaurant and together they found jobs at Hootsuite, a platform for companies to manage their social media activity.

Now they are part of a growing wave of returnees to Spain, moving this year to open the company’s office in Madrid’s Salamanca neighborhood.

“Spain is changing quickly so it’s a key time for us to be here,” said Garcia, 29. “Businesses are not scared. There is still a crisis and some sectors are feeling it. But businesses have a budget to invest in new technologies.”

Spain is growing again and not just in economic terms. After four years of population decline as immigrants and Spanish natives fled a moribund domestic job market, the population rose a modest 89,000 in 2016 to 46.5 million, spurred by a surprisingly robust recovery.

Meanwhile the number of people employed in Spain rose 375,000 in the second quarter and is now 18.8 million—the highest in almost seven years.

Spain’s last jobs boom was based around a massive property bubble, which one time led to the country having more housing starts than Germany, France, Britain and Italy combined. This time, many of the jobs being created are different—less dependent on the volatile construction industry and less accessible to less skilled and educated workers. This economic shift has changed the profile of those who come to Spain.

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