SPAIN’S QUEUE OF job seekers grew to a new record close to five million in November, official data has shown, a grim sign for a nation in the grip of a jobs-killing recession.
The number of people registered as unemployed grew by 74,296, or 1.5 per cent, to 4.91 million in November from the previous month, the Labour Ministry said.
The figure was up 11 per cent from a year earlier.
It was the highest number of job seekers registered in Spain since current records began in 1996.
The eurozone’s fourth largest economy has been shrinking for 15 months and the government is expecting the recession to carry on throughout 2013 before releasing its grip in 2014.
A broader, quarterly household survey by the National Statistics Institute provides the official unemployment rate, which hit 25 per cent in the third quarter for the first time in modern Spanish history.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s right-leaning government is forecasting an end-2012 unemployment rate of 24.6 per cent, with a decline to 23.3 per cent in 2013.
But the growing queue of job seekers makes that forecast look increasingly optimistic, especially as the government raises taxes and slashes spending to curb the public deficit.
London-based analyst Raj Badiani of IHS Global Insight said unemployment was likely to stay above 25 per cent into 2013, “a significant obstacle to any recovery impetus as Spain is struggling to shake off very deep recessionary conditions which are now exhibiting depression-like characteristics.”
A Bank of Spain report last week said scarce available data pointed to shrinking economic output in the final months of 2012, noting further “intense falls” in construction investment.
In Spain, the government is forecasting an economic slump of 1.5 per cent this year.
Its forecast of a 0.5-per cent contraction in 2013 is widely viewed as highly optimistic, however. The European Commission, for example, says it expects Spanish output to tumble 1.4 per cent next year.