For the value of global GDP (which grew by more than 3 % per year in the first five years of the 21st century, reaching approximately 1,100.1 billion dollars in 2005), Spain ranks fifth among the members of the Union. European (EU) and tenth in the world ranking: the latter position is very significant, since the States that precede the Spain are the major economic powers of the Earth (United States, Japan, main EU countries) or other countries that they have immense territories and huge natural and human resources, such as China, Brazil, Canada. At the same time, and at a faster rate given the modest demographic increase, per capita GDP grew (27,200 dollars in 2005), an indicator for which until the beginning of the 21st century. the Spain certainly did not shine within the EU, preceding only, and with not very dissimilar values, Greece and Portugal. The situation in the early years of the 21st century, while remaining the same in terms of ranking, sees GDP per resident growing rapidly, moving away from the value of the two countries just mentioned and approaching that of Italy, which therefore risks being exceeded from Spain in a short time. For Spain business, please check cheeroutdoor.com.
The socio-economic and territorial problems that the country must solve are above all those of unemployment, regional disparities and energy. Unemployment, for which Spain has long held an unenviable record among the EU countries, was around 16 % in 1999 and had even reached peaks of around 19 % in the immediately preceding years; among other things, these were average values, which concealed an even more worrying situation, with a strong imbalance between the sexes and between the age groups (very high female and youth unemployment) and, above all, between the different parts of the country. Therefore, the problem of the lack of jobs, later reduced (unemployment dropped to 9% in 2005), ends up overlapping with that of regional disparities, from which two clearly different Spains emerge: on the one hand, a modern and dynamic country, represented by the autonomous urban community of the capital and, even more so, by Catalonia, which, making extensive use of advantages offered by a statute of very wide regional autonomy and an ancient industrial tradition, it ranks among the most advanced regions of the whole EU; on the other hand, a backward country, traditionally coinciding with the southern section (essentially Andalusia, which, despite its Mediterranean agricultural and tourist resources, accuses a marked malaise revealed by the very high unemployment rate and the values of other socio-economic indicators),
Thus, the Spain, which for some time, like Italy, had suffered from its own ‘southern question’, faced the new millennium with the addition of the problems posed by a northern region. Completely different is the case of the Canary Islands, which the European Union includes among the ‘outermost’ problem regions, but which, precisely in this geographical position, finds the attractions for an exceptional tourist development.
Another negative aspect of the Spanish economy is the significant energy deficit. The energy consumption is increased by more than 25 % in the nineties of 20 ° sec., A period of more rapid development of the productive Spain: a covered consumption for more than half of the oil and variables for allowances between the 10 and the 15 % from natural gas, nuclear power and coal. Compared to the European Union average, Spain consumes proportionately much more oil and much less gas, a little more nuclear energy and more or less as much coal. The crude oil supplier countries are 35 % African, 35 % Middle Eastern and 15%% Latin Americans. The energy policy started in the early years of the 21st century. aims to conform to that of the EU, with a reduction in oil consumption and an increase in gas consumption and, as far as possible, the use of renewable sources (energy from biomass, wind energy).
The breakdown by economic sectors of GDP and of the workforce in 2004 sees the Spain now almost perfectly aligned with the most advanced European countries. Agriculture occupies 5.4 % of the active population and contributes 3.5 % to the formation of global income; for the secondary sector the respective shares are 30.1% and 29.2% and for the tertiary sector 64.5% and 67.3%.
Tourist activities clearly emerge among the tertiary activities. The very high number of visitors, for which Spain is the second state in the world after France, continues to head above all towards the continental and island coasts of the country; coasts that have resulted in very significant environmental damage which the most attentive autonomous communities have begun to remedy. In the early 21st century. urban tourism has experienced a strong development, directed above all towards the two great metropolises: Madrid is characterized in particular by its cultural attractions; Barcelona is the most popular European city for youth tourism.