At the beginning of the year, everything seemed to go on wheels. Álvaro Herrero, assistant director of an sme, of metal components, I saw the future clear. This entrepreneur of 35 years, the third generation of the family who in 1962 founded the germ of what is now Industrias Jacinto Herrero, he hoped that the sales of its products intended for cars and household appliances repuntarían this year at around 15%. In that moment of optimism, Blacksmith and other nine companies cantabrian in need of specialised labour have promoted a programme to recruit and train ten new workers. Today, almost a year later, things have changed a lot.

“we’re in a hiatus generated by the uncertainties that surround us. We anticipate a fall in sales in the first half of 2020, and that all plans for hiring and investment are in the air. If we keep them, will be at the expense of benefits,” he explains by phone from the polygon Guarnizo where he works, a few kilometres from Santander. Smith is not the only one who drags this concern. The latest survey by the Institute of Family Business has come out this year with a shade more grayish: a 16% of the entrepreneurs surveyed are thinking of downsizing (compared to 7% in 2018) and the percentage of those who are raised to invest has dropped from 80% to 73%.

The Government that emerges from the ballot boxes next Sunday —if it manages to form one— going to be more complicated than after the elections of the 28 of April. Not only because the judgment of the procés has tangled even more with the explosive situation in Catalonia. The economy also signals the end of the cycle.

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The IMF forecasts that the global economy, hampered by trade tensions and risks looming in every corner of the planet, to grow this at the slowest rate since the 2008 crisis. Europe is facing a growth stunted, with heavy weights like Germany or Italy on the brink of recession. Rafael Doménech, BBVA Research highlights that despite a summer filled with bad news, the situation seems to have calmed down. “The deterioration is not going to more, it stabilizes,” he says.

For now, Spain has endured the pull better than their neighbors. But the contagion of evils external seems inevitable, dragging, in addition to internal weaknesses such as the second-highest unemployment rate of the EU or a public debt close to 100% of GDP. If things get ugly, a new crisis will take to Spain with the foot changed: the public accounts leave little scope for fiscal policy to boost growth; and the monetary nor can do much more, with an ECB, which has practically exhausted its arsenal of tools.

The latest EPA set off an alarm light. Despite the fact that the unemployment rate has fallen from 14% for the first time in a decade, the data of creation of employment in the third quarter were the weakest since 2012, when Spain was going through the dark tunnel of the recession. Evident as well the spread of the catarrh of the global economy. The growth data, however, show a surprising resilience of the Spanish economy: household consumption, investment and spending of the Administrations still allow a very respectable rate of 2%.

María Jesús Fernández, senior economist of Funcas, prefers to move away from any catastrophism. “A long time ago that we were expecting a slowdown and soft, and is what the data are not showing,” he says. What challenges are facing the next Government? “In the short term, cope with the downturn without a significant deterioration in the public accounts. And long, to prepare Spain for the technological revolution that has already begun. Nor are we prepared or are taking steps to do so. Even some of the decisions are going in the opposite direction”, concludes the economist.

Despite the political bloc, Spain continues to grow above the european average. But Domenech outlines the missed opportunities after years of absence of reforms. BBVA Research estimates that this lock —that prevents you from moving forward on such important issues as regional finances, pensions, labour market or education— has been subtracted to the Spanish economy between 150,000 and 200,000 jobs in the last four years.

Blacksmith protest by the obstacles against which they collide, he and other entrepreneurs in their day-to-day. These are problems that do not hoard the gold minutes of the discussions and are at the top of the agendas of public officials. The largest of them, without a doubt, education. “There are plans of dual training. And in the automotive sector there is a global strategy. It is necessary for a Government to send out clear signals,” he says. This young entrepreneur is concerned about what might happen in the next few months. “If we were like a year ago, we would plant to catch another person in training. But now nothing is for sure. We may endure a time without employment regulation, but only if the situation improves. Everything has a limit,” he concludes.

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