Sunday, April 22, 2012

Socio-economical situation of the Southern Basque Country in the context of the European Union

Notes derived from: Eurostat regional yearbook 2011.

While the yearbook is dated to 2011, most of the data is from 2008-09 and things have changed quite a bit since then. 

In some cases we have detailed data for the Western Basque Country (WBC) and Navarre (separately), as these are considered NUTS 2 (statistical units of level 2). In other cases the Southern Basque Country is merged with Aragon and La Rioja into a single NUTS 1 area.  In a few maps the provinces (NUTS 3) are detailed. The exact figures are not provided but the maps are almost invariably divided into five segments so we can actually compare where we stand.

  1. Jobs:
    1. Employment rate (2009): middle (WBC) or high (Navarre) - this means people working in relation to total population.
    2. Unemployment (2009, only four tiers): very low (<6%) in Gipuzkoa, high (9-12%) in Navarre and Araba and very high (>12% in Biscay). Unemployment grew a lot (>3%) in all the area in the 2005-09 period.
    3. Youth unemployment (2009): high (35-40%)
  2.  Labor costs:
    1. Hourly labor costs (apprentices excluded) (2008, six tiers): middle-high (the Basque-Ebro mega-region): €17-23.
    2. Avg. worked hours (2008): low (the Basque-Ebro mega region): 1850-1725 h/yr. (full time workers only). (Caution: it's low for EU or even Spain but high for Germany or France and average for Italy - only Britain, Malta, Latvia and Romania are in the high or very high tiers, suggesting that the choice of tiers is not adequate but ideological).
    3. Share of employers' social contributions (social security and such) (2008): high (20-25% of the businesses' total economy). 
  3. Education:
    1. Students in University/College (2009): average (55-80% of all 20-24 yr. old citizens).
    2. Students aged 17 (2009, four tiers): very high (>95% of all).
    3. Students aged 4 (2009, four tiers): very high (>95%)
    4. Education attained (2009): very high (>34% of all the population has completed University/College)
    5. Early leavers from education and training (2009, four segments): very high: >20%
  4. Health:
    1. Malignant neoplasms (tumors) (2006-08): average c. 170 per hundred thousand people.
  5. Gross Domestic Product:
    1. GDP per capita PPS (2008): very high (>125% of EU's average)
    2. Change of GDP per capita PPS 2000-08: very high (WBC: >10%) or high (Navarre: 3-10%).
  6. Household accounts:
    1. Primary household income per inhabitant: very high (>125% of EU's average)
  7. Structural business statistics:
    1. Employment in industrial production (2008, four tiers): mid-high (30-40%)
    2. Employment in non-financial services (2008, four tiers): mid-low (WBC: 50-60%) to very low (Navarre: <50%).
    3. Business concentration (2008, four tiers): very low (the five largest non-financial companies gather <37% of employment)
  8. Land use:
    1. Landscape diversity (2009, Shanon-Evenness Index): low (0.60-0.67)
  9. Transport:
    1. Motorization rate (cars per population, Jan 1 2009, four tiers): mid-low (WBC: 40-45%) or mid-high (Navarre: 45-50%)
    2. Public transport (share of all passenger transport, Dec 31 2009): average (20-40%)
  10. Science, tech and innovation:
    1. R&D investment (2008, four tiers): mid-low (1-2% GDP)
    2. Share of researchers (2008, four tiers): mid-high (1.2-1.8% total workers)
    3. Human resources in science and technology (2009, four tiers): mid-high (25-35% of all active population).
    4. Patent applications (2006): low (25-100 per million inhabitants).
Just for the record. 

My impression:
  • Weaknesses: high unemployment , somewhat high labor costs, rather low R&D, innovation
  • Strengths: very high educative level (but also many drop-outs), very high GDP per capita (the economy works comparatively well, effective to very effective), high importance of industry (used to be a handicap but surely not anymore: now that the bubble has been burst, industry is still real stuff)

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