Business, Economics and Jobs

Spain's unemployment hits record 27 percent amid double-dip recession


People attend a mass demonstration called by Spain's two main trade unions, CCOO and UGT to protest the country's huge unemployment rate and demand political reform on March 10, 201 in Madrid.



Spain's unemployment rate climbed to a new record high of 27.16 percent in the first quarter of 2013, the Spanish National Institute of Statistics said Thursday.

The jobless rate grew from a high of 26.02 percent in the previous quarter. The number of unemployed climbed by 237,400 people to 6.2 million, the Institute said.

Meanwhile, France was to release official data overnight showing a record number of jobless workers in the second largest euro zone economy.

The collapse of the property bubble in Spain — the euro zone's fourth-largest economy — has sparked a deep double-dip recession.

The country, which once drove job creation in the 17-member single currency area, has yet to recover from the collapse in 2008 of a labor-intensive property boom.

That same boom had allowed Spain's economic growth to outpace that of the EU for more than a decade, CNN pointed out, adding: "In 2007, before the global economic crisis hit, Spain had 1.9 million people unemployed — 8.6 percent of the active population."

Joblessness in Spain is currently higher among men than women, while youth unemployment is higher on average. Food banks are overwhelmed, evictions are soaring and tens of thousands of immigrants have returned home.

Austerity measures by the Spanish government, which refused to follow Greece, Ireland and Portugal in requesting a full EU bailout, have encountered violent opposition.

Another march on the Spanish Parliament in the capital, Madrid, is planned for Thursday.