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500,000 Spaniards have given up job hunt
Unemployed Spaniards over 55 years old are the most likely to turn their backs on the difficult task of finding work. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP

500,000 Spaniards have given up job hunt

Published on: 23 May 2014 10:57 CET

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A total of 483,600 unemployed Spaniards are still available for work but have given up actively looking for jobs, according to the stats body (INE).

This disheartening consequence of the country's economic downturn is affecting people over 55 years old most. The number of unemployed people in this age group who have abandoned hope has risen 35 percent  in the last three years, from 145,000 to 195,000.

But for people aged under 30, however, the trend is reversed with 5.5 percent more people actively on the hunt. In terms of those not actively looking, though, some 51,700 are in this group.

Spain's working, or 'active' population has fallen in an "uninterrupted" manner since the first quarter of 2011 and now stands at just 22.88 million people, down 750,000.

For the INE, much of this decrease is due to a fall in the number of foreigners in Spain (633,000) an increase in the number of retired people (355,300 more than in 2011), and an increase in the number of young people in full-time education.

Pessimism in the general population also plays a role, the INE said. 

Spain's unemployment rate reached 25.73 percent in the first quarter of 2014, although the total number of unemployed people fell fractionally.

This is because jobs growth has been offset by a shrinking labour force, with more people fighting over the same positions.

A recent study by employment agency Asempleo found there were 110 people for every job opening in Spain

At the height of Spain's property boom in 2007, only 7.93 per cent of Spaniards were unemployed but that figure shot up to 26.94 per cent in 2013, one of the highest rates in the industrialized world.

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Steve Tallantyre(news@thelocal.es)

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