The queues keep getting longer at Spain’s job centres. In March, the number of Spaniards registered as without work rose by 0.8 percent from the previous month.
The total – at 4.3 million people – is up four percent from March last year.
Many of those signing on have never had a job. One woman who was at the job centre for the first time said: “I come here to register as unemployed but it’s not worth it because they’re not giving me any dole money, no benefit money, nothing.”
Spanish Labour Minister Mari Luz Rodriguez said that the economic situation is forcing many people to seek work for the first time, inflating the totals: “There are many people, about one third of those registered as unemployment, who didn’t have a job before, so they weren’t laid off. That’s a fact. In March, there were more than 10,000 people who decided to register as unemployed, for the first time.”
Spain has the euro zone’s worst unemployment rate, 20.5 percent. Nearly 44 percent of those under the age of 25 do not have a job.
In March the services sector, which makes up around 70 percent of the country’s economy, saw the highest number of layoffs.
But economist expect seasonal tourism industry work from Easter into the summer holiday period will help employment pick up.
There has been an increase in Spanish bookings following the unrest in the Middle East and north Africa and the earthquake in Japan.