Spain blow as jobless rate up 1.4pc
Madrid, December 3, 2011
The number of registered jobless people in Spain rose for the fourth straight month in November, by 1.4 per cent from a month earlier, as a debilitating economic slump kept Spaniards away from shops and restaurants, hitting the vital service sector.
Joblessness rose by 59,536 people, 82 per cent of whom were working in the services industry, leaving 4.42 million people out of work, data from the Labour Ministry showed yesterday.
The number of unemployed also rose in industry, up 0.7pc, and construction, up 0.8pc, though fell 1.7pc in agriculture.
"Everything indicates that unemployment will continue to weigh like a tombstone in the short term. It is, without doubt, the main problem faced by the Spanish economy," said Citi economist Jose Luis Martinez.
Spain's economy has been hammered by the collapse of the housing market, which left millions of low-skilled builders out of work, and sinking domestic demand, hit by sliding consumer confidence.
The country is also deeply in the red and on the frontline of the euro zone debt crisis.
Spain is expected to slip into recession by the beginning of 2012 and deep austerity measures, aimed at deflating the public deficit, and the cost of high unemployment has prompted many analysts to predict the economy will contract next year.
The monthly data compares with the quarterly unemployment rate, which stood at 21.5pc or near 5m in the third quarter and includes those who no longer report their employment status.
Incoming centre-right Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told the head of Spain's employer's association and the leaders of its main workers unions they had until January 6 to reach an agreement on labour market reform.
A reform passed in 2010 by the Socialist government has done little to address the problem of a labour market split between those with wide-reaching job protection through so-called permanent contracts and those with almost no employee rights.