The situation in the eurozone country with the highest unemployment has got even worse, as the latest reports show Spain’s jobless figure has increased to 24.4 percent, meaning 5.6 million people in the country are out of work.
Queueing to collect her benefits, unemployed mother Dumitru Magdalena said: “I keep looking and looking. I’ve taken anything that’s come up, but there’s so little available. I’m doing anything I can to live day to day. I’m single with a daughter who’s studying. I’m almost out on the streets.”
There are 1.7 million households where no one is working.
Unemployed economist Alberto Lopez was pessimistic about the outlook: “The situation is very negative. Spain is getting increasingly worse. I see the future as very uncertain and very negative. I think the government is handling things very badly.”
Paying benefits to jobless people will cost Spain’s Conservative government close to one billion euros a year, which is an extra strain, as austerity to reduce the deficit continues to be the focus.
However, the government is on the right path, according to Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saeenz de Santamaria.
“The unemployment figures will make us work with more intensity. It shows the reforms and measures we’ve undertaken are necessary for Spain to reach its deficit goal and provide the foundation for future growth and job creation,” she said.
In a double-blow of bad news, ratings agency Standard and Poor’s has downgraded Spain from a A to a BBB+ with a negative outlook, meaning more downgrades are likely.
Spain is experiencing its second recession in just three years.