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article imageSpain unemployment reaches 5.3m and set to get worse

By Kev Hedges     Jan 28, 2012 in Business
Spain's unemployment rate rose to 22.9 percent, that is the highest figure for 16 years and represents a staggering one in four of the workforce out of a job.
Spain already has the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone, now a 17-nation union. As fresh statistics are released the gloomy picture simply gets worse. Youth (16 to 24 year-olds) unemployment rose to an eye-watering 51.4 percent in December.
The figures are a double blow for the new government administration of Mariano Rajoy. The higher the number of unemployed, the higher the welfare budget impacts on this new administration. Unemployed people are less likely to spend much, therefore driving the economy into another recession. The economy has never recovered from the 2008 housing crisis - a construction industry boom had burst like the big bubble in your washing up bowl.
When a BBC reporter went to a Madrid job centre to interview one of the many job seekers he found it was closed, or so he thought, there were hundreds standing outside who told him, "there are not enough chairs inside for all of us."
If you turn the clock back to 2004, Spain began a four-year boom where property prices rose 44 percent. Unemployment was at 7.95 percent and millions worked in the construction industry then. But those days are gone and now things are set to become worse as Rajoy brings in austerity measures which have already resulted in uneasy protests in the capital.
Young Spaniards are now living in the family home longer than ever in living memory. The average age of children leaving the family home is now well into the thirties, reports Telegraph UK. The prediction from Spanish economists is an economy to shrink by 1.5 percent this year.
More about Work, Eu, Eurozone, eurozone collapse, eurozone debt crisis
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