Bricks and mortar to blame in Spain

My letter in the Financial Times.

Sir, Tobias Buck overlooks a key point in his analysis of why Spain’s unemployment is so high (January 24). Part of the problem is Spain’s lopsided economic model which was excessively based on bricks and mortar. Even with the most liberal hire and fire rules, Spain is not going to create jobs in large numbers. Employment will not be generated in the public sector (an axe has been taken to this sector), obviously not much in construction (1.7m jobs have been shed since 2008 out of a total of 3.7m and there are still more than 1m unsold homes); the flourishing tourism sector cannot employ that many more people and knowledge-based jobs in large numbers are something of a pipe dream in a country with a generally poor education system. So where do new jobs come from?