Friday, April 27, 2012

Spain's unemployment rate hits record high at 24.44 percent

Unemployed people in Spain. (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Newly released figures show Spain’s unemployment rate hit a new record high at the end of March, reaching 24.44 percent.

With the highest rate since 1996, the data released by Spain's National Statistics Institute indicate that some 5.6 million people are now jobless, AFP reported.

This comes hours after the New York-based Standard & Poor’s ratings agency downgraded Madrid’s long-term sovereign credit rating from A to BBB+, giving it a negative outlook.

Earlier this month, Spain’s Labor Ministry had announced a rise in the country’s jobless rate for March, saying an estimated 4.75 million people were unemployed.

In the first quarter of the year, some 37,000 jobs were lost in Spain.

The eurozone’s fourth largest economy has announced spending cuts of more than 11-billion dollars as well as tax increases to reduce the country's deficit to avoid seeking a financial bailout like Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.

Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, destroying millions of jobs.

A number of analysts have on several occasions said that Spain's economy is expected to be hit by a new recession in the first two quarters of 2012.

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