Unemployment in Spain rises to highest ever

Number of unemployed in Spain now more than four million

Unemployment figures in Spain are growing faster than previously predicted and have now reached more than four million. The number of unemployed in Spain is now at its highest level since records began in 1976.

According to the Survey on the Active Population (EPA) unemployment rose by 802,800 in the first quarter of 2009 which is 25% more than the figure recorded previous quarter. The sharp rise in unemployment, almost 9000 a day, now places the total number of unemployed at 4,010,700.

The unemployment rate which is now 3.5 points higher at 17.36% is at its highest rate in 11 years. Furthermore, this figure is higher than the government’s predictions for the growth in unemployment for the whole of 2009. In January the government predicted that the unemployment rate in 2009 would reach 15.9%.
The new unemployment figures are also very worrying when compared to the number of unemployed last year which was 1,836,500.

This means that unemployment has more than doubled in the space of just 12 months.

After the publication of these figures Elena Salgado, the second Vice-president confirmed that they were ‘worse than previously expected’ although she said that from April onwards the rate at which unemployment was increasing would slow down.

The previous figures that EPA provided for the last quarter of 2008 placed the unemployment rate at 13.9% – (3.2 million unemployed). According to the Public Employment Service (previously known as Inem), which uses a different method for measuring unemployment, the total number of unemployed is currently 3.6 million.
One of the most worrying figures provided by EPA is the number of families in which all its members are unemployed which is now more than a million (1,068,400). The number of households in which all its members are unemployed grew by 241,200 in the first quarter of 2009 compared to figures for the previous quarter and has also doubled over the last 12 months.

The unemployment rate for foreigners has also risen sharply with an increase of 28% compared to 21% for the previous quarter. The latest figures show that more than 278,000 foreigners have joined the number of those officially unemployed in the first quarter of 2009.

During the first four months of 2009 more men became unemployed than women (507,000 compared to 295,900 respectively). The total number of unemployed men is now 2,195,800, which means that the rate of unemployment for men is now 16.86% – 3.89 points higher than for the last quarter. Unemployment amongst women grew by 300,000 in the first quarter of 2009 and places the unemployment rate for women at 18%, a rise of 2.

88 points.

In the first quarter of 2009 unemployment grew in all regions of Spain but the biggest increases were in Catalonia (166,900), in the Autonomous Comunidad de Madrid (114,700) and in the Comunidad Valenciana (109,500).

This week the Minister for Work, Celestino Corbacho, warned that unemployment would continue rising until at least July, although it would grow at a lower rate than at present.

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