No comfort for Spain in latest employment dataNovember 4th, 2011 - 11:46 am ICT by IANS
Madrid, Nov 4 (IANS/EFE) Last month’s “bad” unemployment numbers represent a step backward for a Spanish economy struggling to emerge from recession, the country’s labour minister said.
Valeriano Gomez spoke Thursday after the release of data showing that the ranks of the jobless grew 3.17 percent in October to more than 4.36 million, the third consecutive monthly increase.
The latest numbers are “very unfavourable”, the minister told a press conference.
Spain’s economy appeared to be improving earlier this year, but is now “farther away” from recovery, Gomez said, describing the outlook as “difficult and complex”.
He also warned that a further decline in the number of people in formal employment - currently 17.36 million - would jeopardize the ability of the social security system to meet its obligations.
Unemployment in Spain has risen 6.73 percent in the last 12 months and the October rise was the second highest in 15 years, the labour ministry said.
The country’s unemployment rate rose to 21.5 percent in the third quarter, its highest level since the last three months of 1996, the government said last week in a report based on a survey of households.
The secretary of state for the economy, Jose Manuel Campa, described the increase in joblessness as the “most dramatic” reflection of a drive by regional and local administrations to trim public payrolls and reduce deficits.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government embarked last year on an austerity programme aimed at cutting Spain’s total public deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2013, in line with European Union mandates.
Spain’s jobless rate is the highest in the 27-member EU.
The effects of the global recession were aggravated in Spain by the collapse of a long construction and property boom that made the country’s economy the envy of most of Madrid’s European partners.
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