Latest figures show that unemployment in Spain soared to 17.4 percent by the end of March.
It means the number of people out of work in the country has doubled over the last twelve months, from two million to just over four million. The figure is more than twice the European average – and represents a major embarrassment for Spain’s Socialist government, which had claimed the jobless total would peak at four million. Jobseekers are generally in a grim mood: “Things look bleaker than bleak. And it’s always the same people who pay for it.” said one man outside a jobcentre. “Things are awful,” added another woman, “This crisis has left far too many people unemployed.” “I hope it won’t last too much longer for me because I’m trying to work in another sector but I think the employment crisis itself will last for years to come.” said another. This is the biggest quarterly increase since surveys began in 1976, and is even grimmer than this week’s predictions by the IMF. Analysts say its a consequence of the way Spain’s economy grew during the 1990’s, a combination of a low-cost construction boom and rampant consumer spending. Both of these have now vanished as a result of the credit crisis. Its feared unemployment in Spain could top 20 percent by the end of the year.