Spanish govt appeals to consumer patriotism to save jobs
The Spanish government is urging consumers to "buy local" to help combat growing unemployment.
MADRID—The government called on Spanish shoppers to buy local goods over imports in order to save 120,000 jobs threatened by an expected fall in private consumption in 2009. "We ask that the Spanish factor be taken into account when it comes to consumer habits," Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian told reporters as he asked shoppers to boost spending on local goods by 150 euros (195 dollars) per year.
Household consumption will contract some 1.5 percent in 2009, putting 120,000 jobs at risk, the minister said, urging consumers to buy local across the board, from groceries to travel.
"It is better to go to the Sierra Nevada than the Alps," he said.
Spain's economy, the fifth-largest in Europe, is facing its worst recession in decades as the effects of the end of a decade-long property boom spread to other sectors.
The Spanish government slashed its forecast for the economy to a contraction of 1.6 percent this year from the growth of 1.0 percent previously forecast.
It predicts the unemployment rate, already the highest in the 27-nation European Union, will rise to 15.9 percent in 2009 after having dropped to 7.95 percent as recently as the second quarter of 2007, its lowest level since 1978.