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Sunday 09th of January 2011
March 3, 2009    

Spain’s jobless total could reach 4m

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by Kay Murchie

Official figures from the Labour Ministry have revealed that Spanish unemployment soared by 154,058 in February, taking the jobless total to 3.48 million - the highest in over 12 years.

While the rise is smaller than that reported in January, there are fears that more people in the country could soon be out of work.

Angel Laborda at Spain’s FUNCAS savings bank think tank, said “We’ll hit four million around the third quarter - in the summer we could get there , or even at the end of the second quarter. This rate of job losses is going to drag on - the rate of decline has not hit the bottom.”

Spain’s economy has entered recession for the first time since 1993 and the recession is expected to fuel more job losses. The country is facing its worst recession in at least five decades, according to analysts.

Spanish unemployment is the highest than any other nation in the EU at a rate of 13.9% (at December 2008) and its economy, which is the fourth-largest in the euro zone, has been one of the healthiest in Europe over recent years but rising unemployment and the financial crisis have had an impact.

According to the European Commission, Spain’s unemployment rate will continue to rise to 16.1% in 2010 and 18.7% in 2011.

Meanwhile, a separate report revealed that consumer confidence in the country fell to 48.6 points in February from 50.1 points in January.

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