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European Economy: Spain Breaks Out Of Its Economic Grave

Spain has clawed its way out of its economic morass and now has the highest growth in Europe and much lower unemployment. Yes, there are ways out of bad predicaments, as this resilient country has shown.

Just four years ago, Spain looked like a basket case. Europe's fifth-largest economy, the ignominious "S" in Europe's economically wretched PIIGS — Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain — was growing at negative 0.6% (though that was better than 2009's -3.6%) and faced a jobless rate of 21%.

Today, Spain's economy has roared to life, with 3.1% growth forecast this year and talk that the International Monetary Fund could raise that to 3.3%. Its growth rate is double the eurozone average, and the country is now viewed as the European Union's shining economic star.

The best part is that the improvement is no phony marquee number based on public spending, but evidence of real economic activity bubbling up from the private sector.

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