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Spain's jobless level hits record 4.75 million

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Spain's jobless level hits record 4.75 million

The number of Spanish jobseekers rose for the eighth month in a row in March to hit a record 4.75 million.

The Labour Ministry said the number of people filing for unemployment benefits rose by 38,769 with the services sector seeing the most jobs lost.

The jobless rate in Spain stood at 23.6% in February, according to EU figures released on Monday.

The situation is even worse for young Spaniards as youth unemployment is running at 50%.

Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the European Union and it is expected to rise further this year.

The government hopes that reform to the labour market will help ease the problem.

Its measures include cutting back on severance pay and restricting inflation-linked salary increases.

But those measures have angered unions, who organised a general strike last Thursday.

Secretary of State for Employment Engracia Hidalgo said in a statement: “We continue to face an unsatisfactory situation of an increase in the number of people registered as unemployed.

“This is why it is necessary to reiterate the importance of creating confidence and flexibility for companies, as was done with the labour law reform.”

‘Extreme situation’

The unemployment situation is likely to be made worse by deep cuts in government spending.

On Friday the government said that 27bn euros ($36bn; £22.5bn) would be cut from the 2012 budget. Departmental budgets will be cut by almost 17%.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said on Friday the nation was in an “extreme situation”.

“This is a moment that demands serious efforts to reduce spending but also structural reforms to cause the economy to grow and create jobs,” she said.

The budget will be presented to Parliament later on Tuesday.

Source: BBC


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