Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Alcora Prayer Update: the Economy

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor...(Luke 4:18)

As we mentioned in last month’s prayer update, the economy of Alcora is built on the ceramic tile industry, which has been hit hard by the economic crisis the Spain is still in.  Let me give you a clearer picture of what this looks like. 
The ceramic tile factories extend for miles around Alcora.
There are about 150 ceramic tile factories in and around Alcora, and about 5 years ago during the economic boom with all of the construction going on in Spain and around the world, there would be as many as 50,000 people working in Alcora (a town of 11,000) during the day.  Not only this, but the factories were working around the clock producing tiles and shipping them to all parts of the world.  People were moving here from all over Spain and even Europe to find work because there was plenty of it.  One of our acquaintances explained to us that there were so many jobs in the factories that if you didn’t like working in one, you simply went to another one without any trouble, and you would almost never think about working for lower wages in the supermarket.

Now almost anyone would love to work in the supermarket.  A neighbor upstairs who has been a director in one of the factories around here for quite some time told me that many factories that before had 1,000 or more employees are now down to 40 or 50, simply because there is little demand for the tiles right now.  There are literally thousands of palettes of tiles sitting in storage waiting for a buyer.  Our downstairs neighbor who’s been laid off for more than half a year told me that he’s put his resume in at about 60 factories in the area and has yet to hear anything back.  The latest statistics that I’ve found show that over 25% of the workforce in Alcora is unemployed, and 42% of those under 35 are unemployed.  The outlook is pessimistic as the economic forecasters say they don’t expect to see Spain begin to recover until 2012 or 2013.  Most people around here agree that the ceramic tile industry will never return to what it was just a few years ago.
One of the many factories with tiles stockpiled, waiting for a buyer.
In the midst of this gloomy economic situation, here are some points for prayer:
  • That God will use this time of financial crisis for His glory, causing people here to look beyond themselves and materialism for provision, significance and true life. 
  • That God will provide for the needs of Alcorinos. 
  • That God will guide us in discerning how we can be a part of the previous point:  whether it’s delivering groceries for families in need, opening up a food pantry or a secondhand clothing center.
Thanks for praying with us for Alcora!