Unicaja Banco has published the third issue of the report ‘Previsiones Económicas de Castilla-La Mancha’ (Economic Forecasts for Castilla-La Mancha), which, as in previous editions, has been prepared by Analistas Económicos de Andalucía.
This report is divided into four sections: 1) Economic environment; 2) Recent evolution of Castilla-La Mancha economy; 3) Economic outlook for Castilla-La Mancha 2023 and 2024 and 4) Provincial analysis.
The first section describes the international and national backdrop. The second section analyses the situation of the Castilla-La Mancha economy, with special focus on the evolution of the main indicators, according to the region’s productive structure. The third section includes forecasts on the evolution of the GDP and employment in the region for 2023 and 2024. Finally, the last section focuses on the analysis of the evolution and economic outlook of Castilla-La Mancha provinces.
Global and national economic environment
Although the slowdown in global activity for 2023 is confirmed compared to the previous year and inflationary pressures persist, in recent months there has been an improvement in the outlook, which has led the main international economic organizations to revise their projections. Thus, the OECD forecasts that in 2023 the world economy will register growth of 2.6%. On the other hand, despite the moderation in energy prices, the dynamics followed by prices suggest that core inflation will remain high.
In the specific case of the Spanish economy, it grew more than expected in 2022 as a whole, at a rate of 5.5%, with greater intensity in the first part of the year, with a good performance of the labor market. The latest available data, relating to the first quarter of 2023, show a quarter-on-quarter GDP variation of 0.5%, with the foreign sector acting as a support. In year-on-year terms, GDP recorded an increase of 3.8%, with the good performance of exports, especially tourism services, and the contribution of the construction and services sectors, on the supply side, standing out.
The latest projections published by the Bank of Spain point to a GDP increase of 1.6% for 2023, while growth in 2024 is estimated at over 2%.
Recent evolution of Castilla-La Mancha economy
According to AIReF (Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility) estimates, in the whole 2022, Castilla-La Mancha economy recorded a growth of 4.5%, 0.3 percentage points (p.p.) lower than that of 2021, with the GDP recovering pre-pandemic levels. The expansion of the activity would have stood in the construction and services sectors mainly.
In the first quarter of 2023, the GDP of Castilla-La Mancha grew by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter (0.5% in Spain), according to AIReF estimates. In year-on-year terms, growth was 3.5% (3.8% in Spain).
With regard to the labor market, according to the information available, employment continued to grow. Contribution to the Social Security scheme registered a year-on-year growth of 1.9% in April.
Economic Outlook for Castilla-La Mancha 2023 and 2024
The forecasts made by the research company of Grupo Unicaja Banco, indicate that for 2022 as a whole, the regional GDP could grow by 1.2% (1.4% in Spain). Likewise, the number of employed persons (according to figures from the Labor Force Survey) is expected to increase by 0.5% on average for the year, based mainly on the performance of the services and construction sectors. Unemployment is expected to fall by 1.0%, bringing the unemployment rate to 14.1% on average for the year.
With regard to 2024, the first estimates of Analistas Económicos de Andalucía place the growth rate of the economy of Castilla-La Mancha at 2.0%, and at 1.5% for the number of employed persons, with an unemployment rate of 13.3% on average for the year.
However, these forecasts are subject to high uncertainty and sources of risk, which may push them downward in terms of economic activity and upward with respect to inflation. Among the main risks are geopolitical tensions from the war in Ukraine, tighter-than-expected financial conditions and persistent upward price dynamics.
In a detailed analysis by provinces, according to estimates of the Synthetic Indicator of Economic Activity of Analistas Económicos de Andalucía, in the fourth quarter of 2022, Guadalajara (3.2%), Toledo (3.1%) and Albacete (2.9%) would have registered year-on-year growth rates over the regional average (2.7%).
In 2022 as a whole, the provinces of Toledo (5.2%), Albacete (5.0%) and Guadalajara (4.7%) would have led growth.
As for 2023, Analistas Económicos de Andalucía estimates growth rates that will range from 0.8% in Ciudad Real and Cuenca to 2.0% in Guadalajara.