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Spain ends 2012 with the biggest jobless rate in its history

posted 24 Jan 2013, 05:24 by Mpelembe   [ updated 24 Jan 2013, 05:24 ]

Spain's unemployment soars to almost 6 million, it's highest level since measurements began in the 1970s

MADRIDSPAIN (JANUARY 24, 2013)(REUTERS) - Spain's unemployment has soared to its highest level since measurements began in the 1970s, as a prolonged recession and deep spending cuts left almost 6 million people out of work at the end of last year.

Spain's unemployment rate rose to 26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, or 5.97 million people, the National Statistics Institute said on Thursday (January 24), up from 25 percent in the previous quarter and more than double the European Union average.

Prospects for young people are decreasing as unemployment rate rises, such asMadrid resident Raul Sanchez who has been looking for a job for six months without getting a job interview.

Asked about the prospects for 2013, Sanchez said:

"The prospects that we have for 2013? Well, if 2012 was a bad year, you can imagine the prospects that Spaniards have, nothing. At the end we all will have to leave just like our parents did, to emigrate. We don't have any other solution and even less for young people like us."

Spain sank into its second recession since 2009 at the end of 2011 after a burst housing bubble left millions of low-skilled labourers out of work and sliding private and business sentiment gutted spending and imports.

Efforts by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government to control one of the euro zone's largest deficits through billions of euros of spending cuts and tax hikes have fuelled general malaise, further hampering demand.

When Rajoy took office in late 2011 there were 5.27 million jobless in Spain and after more than one year his government hasn´t been able to decrease this number so, unemployment is still one of the main worries of the Spaniards.

"Actually, We are worried, above all for the young people. We are adults and can get by, but young people who have recently left university and old people are the ones who will pay for this crisis," said Elena Jara who is unemployed for the first time after twenty five years.

The economic downturn put an average of 1,900 out of work every day through 2012 and with the recession expected to last at least until the end of 2013, net job creation is unlikely this year.

Joblessness has been particularly acute for Spain's youth, with 60 percent of people under the age of 25 unemployed in the fourth quarter.

In the last three months of 2012, the economy shrank at its fastest pace since the recession began, the Bank of Spain said on Wednesday (January 23), dragged down by a steep drop in private consumption due in part to a September VAT hike and public wage cuts.