As discussed in the Main Street Catalyst series, unemployment is currently a hot topic in economic and political debate. Politicians continue to clamor for means to create jobs, while governmental agencies and media outlets report lackluster job growth figures.
Unemployment rates of major economic powers include:
Country - Jul./∆ Jun.-Jul. (%)
Japan – 4.4/0.1
Germany – 6.6/0.0
United Kingdom – 7.9*
United States – 9.1/-0.1
France – 9.5/0.1
(US Bureau of Labor Statistics, All figures are adjusted to U.S. concepts and factor seasonality,*May 2011)
Nevertheless, these figures are rosy compared to Spain’s unemployment rate of approximately 20%. While many citizens of countries with lower unemployment rates may believe such a level of unemployment would manifest itself in utter economic and social disarray in their nations, Spain proves the contrary to this belief. Although economic issues are ostensibly apparent, Spain continues to host some relatively financially competitive, innovative companies, such as Telefónica S.A., Repsol YPF, S.A., and Zara España, S.A. Accordingly, the question which begs to be asked is how these companies can innovate in a national with a fifth of the workforce unemployed. I challenge readers to take a few moments to consider how 20% unemployment rate could appear in their communities, and role innovation would play in such an environment.
Feedback and opinions are welcome.