3.5. Summary of intermediate performance indicators

To summarise the intermediate performance indicators, it should be pointed out that, while significant progress has been made in reducing unemployment, the Basque Country has not yet returned to pre-crisis levels. Therefore, although the levels are much better than in the rest of Spain, the situation is worse than in Europe as a whole, the reference regions and Germany. Creating more jobs (especially female and youth employment) thus remains a challenge. In recent years, it has also been demonstrated that the Basque Country can maintain high levels of productivity not only by maintaining production and reducing employment, but also through job creation which generates high production levels. Thus, productivity levels remain much higher than the European and Spanish average.

As regards innovation outcomes, which are necessary to continue increasing productivity in the future, the results are uneven. We are not seeing good results in the traditional patent indicator of innovation performance in technology (although they have improved) and it does not seem to match the high levels of input (R&D expenditure). We are also not seeing good results in one of the indicators that may reflect non-technological innovation (community designs), but applications for registered trademarks are doing well. However, it does appear that firms recognise that innovations generate a large percentage of their sales, although it is not clear whether this is from the introduction of radical innovations or the dissemination of technology or adoption by firms from existing products.

We also see a significant increase in exports in the last year, growing stronger despite the increase in domestic demand in Spain, with a relatively high number of firms that move small volumes but are increasing the base of regular exporters.