Overview of Barcelona

Economy of Barcelona

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Spain's mixed capitalist economy is the thirteenth-largest economy in the world and the fifth-largest in Europe. The country is part of a monetary union, the Eurozone, and of the EU single market. The current GDP is $1.369 trillion with a per capitia GDP of $29,400. Until the economic crisis of 2008, the economy of Spain had been regarded as one of the most dynamic within the EU. It holds one of Europe's primary Mediterranean ports, a major international airport, and is the site of a recent real estate boom. It was one of the first country's to invest in industrialization in continental Europe which has served it well.

On the other hand, the Spanish economy began to slow in late 2007 and entered into a recession in the second quarter of 2008. The government budget deficit worsened from 3.8 percent of GDP in 2008 to 9.2 percent of GDP in 2010, more than three times the euro-zone limit. Spain's people struggle with high personal debt with pressure upon lower to middle income groups. The average level of household debt tripled in less than a decade. There is a weakness in the severe lack of jobs with surges in unemployment. Spain also shares the world's growing fears about the euro.

Major sectors of the Spanish economy include tourism and the automobile industry, with a recent push in technology markets. Agriculture composes 3.3 percent, Industry contributes 26 percent, and services contribute the majority at 70.7 percent. Spain's foreign tourist industry is the second biggest in the world and is worth in excess of 40 billion Euros. The automobile industry is a major employer and contributes to 3.3 percent of the Spanish GDP. There are domestic auto companies, as well as many international factories.


Barcelona is one of the richest regions in Southern Europe with a GDP PPP per capita amounting to €30,700. The metropolitan area has a GDP amounting to €177 billion a year, the equivalent of €35,975 per capita terms. Barcelona accounts for more than a quarter of Spain's GDP.

The city has a highly diversified economic structure. As a port city, Barcelona has a long mercantile history. Textiles are of traditional importance and one of the reasons the city is striving to become a major fashion center. The city has also relied on manufacturing as Spain's chief commercial and industrial center, but that industry has since been overtaken by the service sector. Companies in the region place emphasis on small firms with few have more than 200 people on their payrolls.

Barcelona has a thriving stock exchange and is a major international commercial and financial center. Almost a quarter of Spanish exports come from Catalonia with three-quarters of Catalan industry is concentrated in the Barcelona area. The city has a free economic zone near the port, the zona franca.

Barcelona is also a major site for conferences, exhibitions, and trade fairs. The main event, La Fira (Feria de Barcelona) has been held here annually since 1929 at the Palacio de las Naciones.

An important business center in Barcelona, the World Trade Center Barcelona, is located in Barcelona's harbor Port Vell.

Update 17/10/2011

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