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Spain's employment rate third worst in EU

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Spain's employment rate third worst in EU
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16:55 CEST+02:00
Only 58.2 percent of people in Spain aged 20 to 64 were working in 2013, the third lowest figure in the European Union, figures released on Monday show.

Spain's official employment rate is some way below the EU average of 68.3 percent, the figures from Eurostat's latest Labour Force Survey reveal. 

Indeed, only Greece (53.2 percent) and Croatia (53.9 percent) clocked up worse rates in 2013.

Crisis-struck Italy fared slighly better than Spain with an employment rate of 59.8 percent while Iberian neighbour Portugal managed 65.6 percent. 

Spain's 2013 rate also marked a further backwards step in the country's progress to meeting the Europe 2020 goal of 74 percent of people in work. In 2012, the rate was a slightly higher 59.3 percent. This figure reached a peak of 69.5 percent before the country's crisis kicked off in 2007.

The 2013 data from Eurostat shows countries in northern European countries have the best rates of employment, with Sweden topping the chart at 79.8 percent. The Nordic nation was closely followed by Germany, with 77.1 percent. In the UK, this rate is 74.9 percent.

The figures point to a growing north-south divide in Europe, with the difference between the best and worst employment rate reaching 26.6 percentage points last year - up from 19.4 just three years earlier. 

Spain's official unemployment rate is currently running at 25.93 percent, while a recent study by job agency Asempleo showed there are 110 unemployed people for every job opening in the country.   

A 2013 study by Spanish La Caixa suggested as many as one million Spanish workers could be working illegally.

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