Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish conservative prime minister, is duly announcing to those who will listen that despite unemployment rates of 27%, that rise to 57% amongst the youth, that the worst is over. What this translates to is that unemployment will fall to 25% by 2016. Not overly encouraging. Although not an expert on the economic aspects of Andalucia I have to report based on a week in Benalmadena that there was no evidence of massive unemployment. That observation has to be caveated by the fact that I was hardly looking for unemployed Spanish youth whilst lounging on the beach. There was a single eastern european beggar outside Mercadona ( the Spanish Tesco equivalent). What was obvious though was that there were far fewer British expats and tourists there than before, a linear annual decline. Fewer English type restaurants and bars, and where these had closed down they were replaced by Spanish bars. As a consequence presumably of all this, less tourists and more indigenous Spainish, prices have fallen considerably. A beer would cost 1-2 euros. In the best bar along the beach side Palm 5, a beer cost less than 2 euros. Glass of wine, and thats of a proper size, was 1-2 euros.
The only clear evidence of economic recession was the absence of building of flats and apartments. But frankly the rate they were building 5 years ago was ridiculous. Benalmadena costa may be a nice place but not that nice. But it is not Monaco! Outside our apartment there is a crane towering over a half finished block of apartments. This in itself is not exciting but when put into context that I have taken the same photograph now for 5 years. That crane has not moved in 5 years. The half finished block remains unfinished and I imagine will look just like that next year.