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Monday 31st of January 2011
January 28, 2011    

Spanish unemployment rate back above 20%

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by Kay Murchie

The national statistics institute INE today announced the unemployment rate in Spain is at the highest level since the second quarter of 1997.

Spain, which has the highest unemployment rate in the EU, has been hit by a severe slump within its key construction industry, which has led to a significant amount of job losses.

Figures today revealed there were 4.697 million people registered as jobless, taking the unemployment rate to 20.33% at the end of 2010, higher than the 18.83% reported at the end of 2009.

The Government is forecasting a rate of 19.3% for 2011 and dropping to 17.5% the year after.

It is another blow to Europe’s fifth largest economy which is endeavouring to regain investor confidence after speculation mounted that it would be the next country to seek an emergency bailout.

Meanwhile, the unemployment figures come as the Government today agreed to lift the retirement age to 67 from 65 - part of tough austerity measures aimed at bringing the country’s budget deficit down.

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