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Latest update : 2008-09-02

The number of people out of work in Spain has reached a 10-year high in August passing the 2.5 million mark. In one year the unemployment rate has risen of 24.7%. The increase is most evident in the building sector.

Practically every day brings fresh evidence of the economic crisis sweeping across Spain. And today, a new psychological barrier has been breached with the publication of unemployment figures for the month of August - the number of people out of work has passed the 2.5 million mark (there are currently 2,530, 001 people looking for jobs). In one year, the unemployment rate has risen from 7.9% of the working population to 10.4% - a 24.7% increase.

The rise in unemployment is most noticeable in the building sector, where it's leapt up by 71% over the course of the past year. The significant drop in activity in construction has impacted worst on immigrant workers, who've been badly hit by the doubling of unemployment in this sector.

These latest figures compound a long list of woes in the Spanish economy. Consumerism has dropped off considerably (retail sales are down by 5%), car sales have plummeted by 40%, and the real estate crisis continues with the property purchases down 80%.

According to the daily newspaper El Pais, which is close to the government, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is due to address Parliament on the issue of unemployment next week. And 'austerity measures', in the words of Finance Minister Pedro Solbes, cannot be ruled out. For the first time in the history of Spanish democracy, 2009's Budget contemplates reducing the amount of state funds allocated to 8,000 local councils - who are already struggling to keep their heads above water.

Date created : 2008-09-02