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ECONOMY

Spain’s unemployment rate leaps to 16 percent amid coronavirus crisis

Spain's unemployment rate jumped to 16.26 percent in the third quarter as the country's tourism-dependent economy was ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, official data showed Tuesday.

Spain's unemployment rate leaps to 16 percent amid coronavirus crisis
Photo: AFP

The reading for the July-September period compares with a jobless rate of 15.3 percent for April to June in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy, national statistics office INE said in a statement.

There were an additional 355,000 people out of work in Spain in the third quarter, still an improvement over the second quarter when over a million jobs were lost, mainly in the tourism sector.

The number of total unemployed stood at 3.7 million at the end of September.

This figure does not include the roughly 650,000 people benefitting from a government coronavirus furlough scheme as of the end of September, according to government figures.

The government last month reached an agreement with union bosses and employers to extend its coronavirus furlough scheme until the end of January but the tourism sector is demanding that it run until the end of 2021.

Tourism bosses have also asked that the government drop the requirement for participating companies to freeze layoffs for six months after it ends.   

Tourism is hugely important to the Spanish economy, accounting for some 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 13 percent of employment.   

The government predicts the unemployment rate will hit 17.1 percent by the end of 2020.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) sees Spain's GDP slumping by 12.8 percent this year, in what would make it the hardest-hit country among the world's advanced economies.   

Spain is currently battling a second wave of coronavirus that has so far claimed more than 35,000 lives and infected over one million people.

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ECONOMY

Spain’s middle-class youngsters the most likely to end up poor across all EU

Spain leads the ranking of EU countries with the highest risk of young people ending up in poverty as adults, despite coming from families without economic difficulties.

Spain is the fourth EU country with the highest inherited poverty
Spain is EU country with most middle-class young people who end up poor. Photo: Jaime ALEKOS / AFP

Spain is also the fourth EU country with the highest rate of inherited poverty risk, according to Eurostat, the EU Statistical Office.

Data on intergenerational poverty indicates that there is a correlation between the financial situation of the household you grew up in and the risk of being poor when you reach adulthood and in Spain, there is a strong link. 

The latest statistics available from 2019 show that the at-risk-of-poverty rate for the EU was 23 percent among adults aged 25 to 59 who grew up in a poor financial situation at home when they were 14 years old. This is 9.6 percentage points more than those who come from families without financial problems (13.4 percent). 

READ ALSO: Spain’s inflation soars to 29-year high

How the situation in Spain compares with the EU

Spain has become the EU country with the highest risk of poverty among adults who grew up in families with a good financial situation  – 16.6 percent.

This was followed by Latvia with 16 percent and Italy with 15.9 percent.

That statistics also show the countries where it is less likely to be poor after growing up in households without economic difficulties. These include the Czech Republic (5.9 percent), Slovakia (7.9 percent) and Finland (8.5 percent).

The overall poverty rate in the EU decreased by 0.1 percentage points between 2011 (13.5 percent) and 2019 (13.4 percent), but the largest increases were seen in Denmark (1.9 points more), Portugal (1.8 points), the Netherlands (1.7 points) and Spain (1.2 points).  

On the other hand, the biggest decreases in the poverty rate were seen in Croatia (-4 percent), Lithuania (-3.6 percent), Slovakia (-3.5 percent) and Ireland (-3.2 percent).

READ ALSO: Spain’s government feels heat as economic recovery lags

Inherited poverty

The stats revealed that Spain was also the fourth country with the highest rate of inherited poverty risk (30 percent), only behind Bulgaria (40.1 percent), Romania (32.7 percent) and Italy (30.7 percent).

This means that children of poor parents in Spain are also likely to be poor in adulthood. 

The countries with the lowest rate of inherited poverty risk were the Czech Republic (10.2 percent), Denmark (10.3 percent) and Finland (10.5 percent).

The average risk-of-poverty rate for the EU increased by 2.5 percentage points between 2011 (20.5 percent) and 2019 (23 percent), with the largest increases seen in Bulgaria (6 points more), Slovakia and Romania (4.3 points), Italy (4.2 points) and Spain (4.1 points).

The biggest drops were seen in Latvia (-8.5 points), Estonia (-8.0 points) and Croatia (-2.3 points). 

The largest gaps in people at risk of poverty when they reach adulthood were in Bulgaria (27.6 percentage points more among those who belong to families with a poor economic situation as teenagers compared to those who grew up in wealthy households), Romania (17.1), Italy (14.8), Greece (13.5) and Spain (13.4).

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