It seemed impossible to overcome the great heights already reached with the pandemic, but the end of the parliamentary year is being a real festival of nonsense whose only real objective seems to be the misleading manipulation of the data regarding contagion, employment and even the real volume of European funds.
We are not in a situation of normality. The epidemic is again in a rising phase of contagion increasingly close to community transmission. In less than a month, we have gone from 360 cases a day at the end of June to 905 yesterday, reported this very morning. But to find out that this is three times above the level in Britain, for example, we have to go to the English press. Because what we’re supposed to believe is that Madrid built two IFEMA pavilions because it likes to hire health workers and that The president of the Catalan government talks about the prospect of another 7,000 deaths for the sake of exaggeration. The reality: everything points to the fact that the return of the August vacations may be, if the trend of the last month continues, a real disaster.
What we are told is that, according to the EPA, 1,074,000 jobs were destroyed in the worst quarter recorded and that unemployment is already above 15%, but that 3.4 million jobs and 550,000 companies have been saved thanks to temporary layoffs.
The reality: 46% of workers under temporary layoffs have not returned to work and real unemployment, with no distortion of data, exceeds 33%:
As for the unemployment data, they are completely altered. Not only because the workers under temporary layoffs continue to figure as employed, but because those who have been dismissed are not being counted as unemployed either. The reason is that since these people were not able to actively look for a job because they were under confinement, they are included in the inactive statistics. This is why the figure for the number of unemployed people has barely increased by 55,000 when more than 1 million jobs have been destroyed and more than 3 million went under temporary layoffs.
The National Statistics Institute (INE) provides data on the hours actually worked during the quarter, an indicator that shows the actual destruction of employment (in hours, not in jobs). Between April and June, 474 million real working hours were performed, a figure that is 22.6% lower than the previous quarter and 26.7% lower than the same period last year. This figure shows the destruction of real employment that Spain suffered as a result of the state of alarm. In terms of jobs, it represents the loss of some 4.73 million jobs, that is, four times worse than the figure reflected in the employment data.
In the case of unemployment, the distortion is even greater, as some 4.7 million jobs were destroyed, but there are only 55,000 more unemployed. The first problem, as already explained, is that there are 3.6 million people who are still listed as employed even though they are not working as a result of the pandemic. The rest, the 1.1 million jobs destroyed, have been counted as inactive and not as unemployed. […] Unemployment has not increased by 55,000 people as shown by the statistics, but has increased by one million people. That means that the unemployment rate would be 19% and not 15.3%. If the 3.2 million workers under temporary layoffs are also added, the total unemployment rate would rise to 33%, the highest figure ever recorded. These figures would already fit better with the real data of the labor market.
Capital and companies
Spain’s national capital is on the ropes. The dividend of the companies on the stock exchange fell by 69%. Industry and construction offer an atrocious panorama: industrial prices continue to drop and fall 6.1% in June due to lack of demand; the number of new mortgages collapsed in May by more than 27%.
The financial sector, until two years ago the vanguard of Spanish capital, is less and less viable as a source of profit. Santander today presented record losses. The ECB has asked the large banks not to distribute dividends in order to increase reserves in the face of an uncertain future, and the Bank of Spain has extended this recommendation to all institutions. The aim is to prevent them from collapsing. And according to the ECB models they will not collapse, at least not on a massive scale. But what they don’t say is that even if they can continue to perform their function of lending to the economy… they’re not going to be profitable at all.
Not to mention the services sector… Only the British quarantines for returning travelers would cause a reduction in revenue over what was already cut by the pandemic, of 8.7 billion euros. And it’s not just Britain. The map of countries applying travel restrictions to Spain is growing. Investors in tourism and hospitality may bellow that the government has not placed the short term outcome of their investments as much as they would over the needs of public health, but the truth is that it is precisely by putting the outcome of their investments ahead of the lives of workers that we are now suffering an increasingly consistent upswing in outbreaks and that their hotels and resorts now have no customers. Who would want to become infected?
As optimistic as the official media may be, only 23% of companies will recover the pre-pandemic situation in their account books before the end of 2020.
As the former Greek minister and the Bank of Spain point out, the volume of net subsidies makes the fund macro-economically insignificant. In reality, a way of dressing, without too much sweetening, a new campaign of austerity… and what is more important, a much more aggressive one than that of ten years ago[…] [And moreover] The money in the fund of recovery is conditioned to reforms [that] are nothing but massive transfers from labor to capital. The European Council stressed again and again that the reforms that can be financed are: the green deal, digitalization, making the labor market even more flexible (=precarization) and eliminating the social security deficit.
- “Can the European “Recovery” Fund ease the crisis?
The way out for capital will be our misery
The way out that Spanish capital envisions does not involve distributing aid indefinitely among the many zombie companies it has in its hands. On the contrary, it is a matter of accelerating as soon as possible this transfer of workers’ income by means of reforms.
A very illustrative preview: Endesa increased its profit by 45% after recovering provisions from the negotiation of the collective agreement. In other words, what it had planned in accounts to save in order to increase salaries, jobs and training, it allocated directly to capital dividends instead. In this way capital is saved from crises! In fact, the figures of the first months of the pandemic already show very clearly that workers’ incomes have started to drop. And one only has to listen to the trade unions in order to see how they are getting ready to try to make us buy into a new wave of reforms, cuts and precarization.
Spanish capital closes the political course with the sword of falsehood held high. It wants to blur the reality of the epidemic, of unemployment, of the situation of its own companies, of what the European funds mean and above all its plans for a way out of the crisis. At least until September, when today’s lies will become a guillotine on our most basic living conditions and needs.