Spanish shops took on staff in November at the fastest rate in eight years in the run-up to what many retailers tipped as the best Christmas for takings since the country began to recover from a deep recession. Hiring was up 1.8 per cent year on year, data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) showed, a pace last reached in December 2007.
Low inflation, tax cuts and falling oil prices have boosted Spanish families’ income in recent months, extending the economy’s return to growth over the past year and a half. Higher household spending has helped retail sales rise consistently since 2014, a run extended in November to a sixteenth straight month and feeding into a jobs recovery.
Spain’s labour market is still struggling after mass layoffs during the crisis years, with unemployment hovering at around 21 per cent. An uncertain political outlook, after an inconclusive general election on 20 December left no party able to form a government alone, has yet to derail expectations that Spain’s economy and consumer spending will continue to pick up. The Bank of Spain last week hiked its growth forecasts for 2015 and 2016.
Retail sales rose 3.3 per cent year on year in November, the INE data showed, the slowest pace of growth since August and well below the 6 per cent rise recorded in October, which was revised upwards from a 5.8 per cent preliminary reading. A year ago sales rose 1.8 per cent in November before spiking a month later, and there are signs the same pattern could emerge in 2015.