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One in four Spaniards jobless as unemployment hits record high

Published time: October 26, 2012 16:49
Edited time: October 26, 2012 23:24
People enter a government-run employment office in Madrid (Reuters / Andrea Comas)

People enter a government-run employment office in Madrid (Reuters / Andrea Comas)

Spain's unemployment rate has hit a record high of 25 per cent. The country is currently facing its worst jobless crisis since the 1970s.

The third quarter of 2012 witnessed unemployment rise from 24.6 per cent to 25.02 per cent, with 85,000 new people looking for work. The total number of jobless in the country now stands at 5.8 million – about one fifth of Spain's citizens between the ages of 15 and 64.

The county's youth are suffering the most, with over 50 per cent unemployment among them, the National Statistics Institute of Spain says.

By occupation the service, construction and manufacturing industries register the highest unemployment rates.

With these figures Spain has the second-largest unemployment rate in the eurozone, yielding only to Greece, where unemployment hit 25 per cent in July.

Average unemployment stood at 11.4 per cent throughout the eurozone in August.

Spanish authorities are currently amidst debates over whether they should apply for a rescue package.

But the government is giving an optimistic forecast for 2013, saying it will be the last year of recession, and that GDP will only fall 0.5 per cent while unemployment decreases.

However, experts predict Spanish GDP to fall significantly and unemployment to rise by the end of next year.

Meanwhile, strikes and mass protests are becoming common pastimes for the Spanish people. On Friday the transport industry slowed down due to a partial strike.

Members and supporters of the CCOO Workers Union and the General Union of Workers (UGT) take part in a protest. (AFP Photo / Dani Pozo)
Members and supporters of the CCOO Workers Union and the General Union of Workers (UGT) take part in a protest. (AFP Photo / Dani Pozo)

The next nationwide strike, announced by the General Workers Union and the Labor Federation, is to take place on November 14. Greek and Portuguese workers will also join the strike.

One way to deal with high unemployment is to invest, Gabriele Zimmer, Member of European Parliament told RT.

“Quite a lot of young people from Spain, from Ireland, from Portugal, left their own countries – and in Spain, we have an unemployment rate of fifty per cent among young people, and they have no future. That’s why we have to invest in the economic sphere, we have to give the governments and also the small and medium enterprises the possibility to invest,” she explained.

Eurozone authorities must completely change their policy, and start putting people before the stabilization of the Euro, Zimmer asserted.

“We have to look at what we can do for the people in our countries – more than 120 million people in the European Union are living in poverty, and are socially excluded – and that is not a good sign, not a good symbol for the European Union that was honored by the Noble Peace Prize," she said.

­Author and publicist William Engdahl also says austerity is the source of troubles in the eurozone, blaming it largely on banks.

“Those banks remain the source of the problem. There is no landing going on to the real economy, and that`s the root cause of the 25 per cent unemployment in Spain and Greece and elsewhere across the EU,” he stated.

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