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UNEMPLOYMENT

Central bank predicts ‘slowing’ jobless rate

Spain's recession will continue in the second quarter although the unemployment rate, already at a record high, will rise at a slower pace, the Bank of Spain said Wednesday.

"The limited information concerning the second quarter suggest a further decline in output however in a context in which a certain improvement in qualitative indicators, especially on the side of demand, can be noted," the bank said in its monthly bulletin for May.

Spain's gross domestic product tumbled by 0.5 percent on a quarterly basis in the first quarter, its seventh quarterly contraction, after falling by 0.8 percent in the final three months of 2012.

The downturn has caused the country's unemployment rate to soar to a record 27.16 percent in the first quarter of 2013, the highest level since the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975.

But the Bank of Spain said household confidence increased in April "mainly due to a less negative evolution of job expectations."

The number of job seekers registered as unemployed in April fell from the previous month by 46,050 people, or 0.91 percent, dipping below the five-million mark to 4.989 million, according to figures from the Ministry of Labour.

The Spanish government predicts the economy will shrink by 1.3 percent in 2013, after contracting by 1.37 percent last year, while the unemployment rate will end the year at 27.1 percent.

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ECONOMY

Unemployment in Spain hits four million for first time since 2016

The number of people in Spain registered as unemployed surpassed four million for the first time in five years in February, government figures showed Tuesday, as pandemic restrictions hit the country's tourism-dependent economy.

Unemployment in Spain hits four million for first time since 2016
Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

Jobless claims rose by nearly 45,000 last month over last month to hit 4,008,789, the labour ministry said, the fifth consecutive monthly increase.

The rise is due to the impact of “severe restrictions imposed to combat the third wave of the pandemic,” the ministry said in a statement.

The last time the number of jobless in Spain rose above four million was in April 2016.

Spain’s regional governments, which are responsible for health, have imposed various measures to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including shutting down bars and restaurants and nightly curfews which have hit the hospitality sector hard.

A broader, quarterly household survey by the national statistics institute INE provides the official unemployment rate, which hit 3.7 million or 16.1 percent at the end of December.

Both the labour ministry and the INE figures do not include the roughly 755,000 people benefitting from a government coronavirus furlough scheme as of the end of last year.

The Spanish government says it has spent €40 billion ($48 billion) since the start of the pandemic to finance the furlough scheme and help the self-employed.

Spain’s economy contracted by 11 percent in 2020, one of the worst performers in the eurozone, with its key tourism sector battered by the
pandemic.

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