Spain's winter unemployment figures make gloomy reading

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Spain's winter unemployment figures make gloomy reading

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Bad news for Spain’s government and workers. The number of people with a job there shrank at a faster pace in the first three months of this year.

The total of those either working or available for work dropped by 187,000 to 22.884 million. It was the sharpest quarterly fall for that period in at least six years.

The unemployment rate rose modestly over the period, inching up to 25.9 percent of the workforce. It has not been below 25 percent since 2012.

Winter jobs figures are traditionally bad in tourism-dependent Spain, but these numbers underline the tough challenge the government faces as it tries to persuade disgruntled voters about the recovery.

Spain’s economy is picking up after slumping since 2008, but people continue to leave the labour force in droves every month.

Some retire, but others – especially those under 25, immigrants or the long-term unemployed – go abroad in search of work or stop actively seeking jobs.

“Many young people have stopped looking. There is a large number of people who are long-term unemployed that have stopped sending their resumes and have stopped asking family and friends,” said Sara de la Rica, economist at the Basque Country University and researcher at think tank Fedea.

“There’s a point when people just say enough is enough. These are the disheartened unemployed.”

with Reuters