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Europe

Spain's jobless rate nears 25% in second quarter

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-07-27

Spain's unemployment rate rose to 24.63% in the second quarter of the year, official figures showed Friday, while joblessness among young people reached a whopping 53.27%. The country is experiencing its second recession in four years.

AFP - Spain's unemployment rate rose in the second quarter to 24.63 percent and a huge 53 percent among the young, despite the start of the tourist season, official figures showed Friday.

The increase in the overall jobless numbers was smaller than in the first quarter, with the number of eligible people out of work rising to nearly 5.7 million people.

Between April and June, 53,500 people lost their jobs, compared with 365,900 in the first quarter, the national statistics office said.

The unemployment rate rose from 24.4 percent recorded in the first quarter -- already the highest in the industrial world -- as Spain entered its third straight quarter of economic contraction.

Among those aged 16 to 24, the rate rose to a huge 53.27 percent from 52.01 percent the previous quarter, reflecting the ongoing impact of Spain's double-dip recession following the collapse of a construction boom in 2008.

The number of households in which all eligible members are unemployed rose by 9,300, reaching more than 1.73 million overall.

The country is in its second recession in four years, hit hard by the bursting of the property bubble that threw millions out of work.

On Monday the statistics office will publish its provisional figure of economic output in the second quarter. The Bank of Spain last week estimated this would be a contraction of 0.4 percent, after a 0.3 percent decrease in January to March.

Under pressure from European authorities, Spain's conservative government has approved tens of billions of euros' worth of spending cuts, tax hikes and other measures.

The latest set of measures announced by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on July 11 aimed to save 65 billion euros ($80 billion) over three years.

Rajoy says the steps will help cut the public deficit in line with targets agreed with the European Union and strengthen the economy in the long term.

Critics say the measures will make the poor suffer unfairly from moves such as a public sector bonus cut and a rise in sales tax that together will hit consumption.

Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards have marched noisily in the street over recent weeks in protest at the measures.

The Spanish region hardest hit by rising unemployment was Catalonia in the northeast with a rate of 33.92 percent, Friday's figures showed. The lowest rate was 14.56 percent in the affluent Basque Country.

Spain's regions became a focus of financial concerns this week when Catalonia and others indicated they would need to borrow from a central government rescue fund in order to keep paying their debts.

The Spanish government's latest unemployment forecast is for a rate of 24.6 percent at the end of 2012. This is a separate estimate from that of the statistics office, an autonomous state body.
 

Date created : 2012-07-27

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