As 2020 approached, no one saw the economic tsunami that he brought with him. The pandemic caused by coronavirus it has put to the test not only health but also the economy and not all sectors hold up the same. In this crisis caused by the covid the service sector is who has been struck with greater virulence and on the way it has already been left more than 800 companies. According to the Ministry of Labor, with updated data until November, during that month, and in 2019, there were 15,044 companies registered with Social Security. A year later, the figure has dropped to 14,220, that is, 824 less. Instead, in construction the crisis goes on tiptoe and the number of companies remains unchanged, albeit on the rise (from 1,947 to 1,961, +14), almost the same as the case with industry, but on the decline (it goes from 2,508 to 2,456, -52). He agricultural sector is the one that best weathers the storm and it surprises with 1,199 more companies (from 6,079 to 7,278).
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These figures reflect only a fraction of what has happened in a year in which hotels, bars and shops were closed since the state of alarm was declared until late in May, in which the de-escalation began, and in which they have had time restrictions from the All Saints Bridge as a containment measure to stop the second wave. One of the measures that has most negatively affected all businesses is the limitation of mobility, which, while it has been in force, has prevented potential consumers from reaching, among them, the tourists. To get an idea of the effects that the covid has had on tourism, it is enough to compare the number of visitors who stayed in hotel establishments in Córdoba between January and November 2019, 1,128,903, with that of the year just ended, 326,960, is say, 71% less. This lack of tourists has had consequences not only in hotels, but also in other accommodation and travel agencies. The Jewry has been the great victim. Faced with this situation, commerce and hospitality repeatedly demand direct aid and fear the end of the ERTE.
The situation in construction and in the real estate sector has not been so dramatic, although 2020 is worse than 2019. The Association of Real Estate Agencies of Córdoba, Asaicor, has conducted a survey among its associates that indicates that the number of purchase and sale operations has decreased between 10 and 15% and that prices have decreased to the same extent, while increased by between 15% and 20% the rental housing stock and prices have dropped by 5-10%. Its president, José Vaquero, assures that “there is an excess supply in the market that the demand does not cover.” In his opinion, «the demand is weakened for fear of not covering the mortgage payment.
Antonio Díaz (CECO): “Some 800 companies have disappeared”
He year has been “exceptionally bad” in the opinion of the President of the Confederation of Entrepreneurs of Córdoba (CECO), Antonio Díaz, which estimates that the Gross Domestic Product (START) in the province «will drop 11%“, Which translates into” unemployment, destruction of companies and very negative data “. In the absence of the December figures for the Social Security in terms of contributions, from November 2019 to the same month in 2020, and as Díaz explains, «they have some 800 companies disappeared, who have stopped contributing to Social Security for workers ”, which“ shows that there has been a significant decrease, and without counting the workers who are in ERTE and that their contract is suspended but they are still registered with Social Security ».
Despite this, Díaz indicates that «there are sectors that have grown during the pandemic, they have been able to adapt to the circumstances and have created jobs, such as logistics and parcel delivery. In this sense, he affirms that there have been parcel and service companies «Who have had more work than ever» and «an industrial sector that is doing million-dollar investments, such as the cold of Lucena». Added to this is the good performance of the agri-food sector and private health. Therefore, he concludes that “we have clear and shadows” in the year of the covid.
Francisco Carmona (Construcor): Construction circumvents the crisis “with solvency”
He construction sector «Has been able to sort with solvency a tremendously unfavorable scenario ”, so their behavior has been“ positive ”. So thinks the secretary general of construction, Francisco Carmona, who assures that the decline in sales has been “very moderate, especially when the demand for housing in the city is circumscribed almost exclusively for its destination to habitual residence. In this sense, it indicates that the sales volume until October is 20% higher to the one registered in all of 2014, year “in which the recovery of the real estate market was confirmed”.
Carmona recalls that at the end of 2019 Construcor already anticipated «a downward adjustment of housing transmissions after three years with double-digit increases, due to an intense reactivation of sales after almost six years of paralysis. To this adjustment, he adds, in 2020 the stoppage of marketing during confinement and the restriction of mobility, “which have made transactions difficult, or lack of trust due to the crisis.” Even so, he points out, sales data up to October “anticipate a 19% drop, slightly higher in the used housing segment.” As to public works, calculates a decrease of 11%, with projects tendered for 150 million.
Ana Moreno (API School): Sales drop but rents go up
The President of the Association of Real Estate Agents (API) of Córdoba, Ana Moreno, explains that real estate agencies perceived «from March, and until after the summer, the time that the state of alarm lasted and its aftermath, a stop in real estate activity“Because” you couldn’t go to the notaries, it was all very complicated and there was also a certain uncertainty. ” However, “he adds,” “at the end of the year it seems that activity has picked up and in the months of November and December there have been more operations, many of which were almost pre-arranged.” His calculations are that the year ends with a drop in home sales that can be between 20% and 25%.
The picture is different in rents, which “have remained the same and there has been even greater demand of rents due to the difficulty of mortgage financing ». However, in rentals “there have been defaults, requests for moratoriums and renegotiations of rents but not a drop”, but “a slight increase due to people who have not been able to access the purchase.” In his opinion, 2020 does not reach the levels of the previous crisis, which “was an economic chaos”, while this is caused “by a specific circumstance that is going back because there is more confidence in the market.”
Félix Serrano (Aehcor): «60% of the hotels are closed»
“He 60% of the hotels are closed in Córdoba and the billing he has dropped 85%». That is the summary of the situation of the hospitality sector, according to the president of the Association of Entrepreneurs of the Hospitality of Córdoba, Aehcor, Felix Serrano, after a year in which there has been no high season, no low season, or of any kind. «This year everything has been marked by the covid crisis and there has been nothing, no seasonIn fact, all events in the city have been canceled and there have been limitations on mobility, ”he says. Despite of pull of rural accommodation in summer, his impression is that of this crisis, which has hit tourism especially, «nobody is saved, nor the rural houses, and many are closed ». His conclusion is that, like this, there has never been another year like it.
Not even the end of 2020, with the opening of mobility, alleviates the crisis situation. «There has been no movement, mobility is open but nothing has been noticed and, in fact, there are businesses that have decided to close these days due to lack of customers, “he says. The prospects for 2021 are not more promising, since “no tour operation has been contracted, so foreign tourism does not exist” and the national It will depend on the «vaccine and the crisis that comes». The worst thing, he affirms, is that “the aid neither comes nor is expected.”
Francisco de la Torre (Hostecor): «20% of employment has been lost»
“He 2020 was a year to forget ». This is how the president of Hostecor, Francisco de la Torre, the year just ended, in which the hospitality sector has faced the total closure during confinement and time restrictions at different times, which has caused billing to have dropped between 60 or 70% in relation to the year 2019. As for employment, it calculates «that 20% of employment has been lost compared to the previous year and many colleagues are still in ERTE, which we hope does not lead to layoffs “, since he is convinced that the loss of the 2020 high season will be added to that of 2021. His estimates are that between 25% and 30% of the establishments have had to close temporarily, which happens, especially in the old town.
“The major victims have been businesses related to tourism and nightlife, closed by decree for nine months, and catering, which have been a year without being able to celebrate weddings, communions and other events normally, “he says. In nightlife, he estimates that billing has fallen by 100%; in the historic center, 90 or 95%; and in catering, 90%. “Those who have been able to save a bit of furniture are the colleagues who have a terrace, where the capacity has been more flexible,” he concludes.
Rafael Bados (Córdoba Commerce): “Sales have fallen 50% in 2020”
For the president of Commerce Córdoba, Rafael Bados, 2020 «has been a disastrous year» for trade, «the perfect storm in negative key for a sector that came from difficult years ”, for which the total closure imposed by the state of alarm was the last straw. Not even the reopening was enough to improve sales, since “the situation of uncertainty generated by the covid has caused consumption to decline and sales to drop to unthinkable levels.”
In this sense, Bados explains that “ sales are down 50% in 2020 “in relation to 2019,” very negative data for a vital sector for the economy of Córdoba. This decline already occurred in the previous crisis but between 2007 and 2014, not just in one year. “This crisis has been very virulent and in a very short time it has had devastating effects, “he says. Added to this is the forecast that “25% of the commercial fabric may be destroyed.”
In his view, trade is the sector that «worst has reached this crisis and we will be the most affected when the exit occurs ». Especially “hard” is the situation of Jewish quarter business, where sales have fallen by 90% and for those who claim a specific aid plan or “hibernate companies eliminating expenses such as rent, mortgage and taxes.”