Spain’s employment rate has topped the 25-percent mark for the first time on record, while Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy continues to mull the merits of a second bailout.
According to the National Statistics Institute’s (INE) Active Population Survey (EPA), the number of people out of work on the third quarter jumped by 85,000 to 5.778 million. The economy - in recession for the second time in three years - shed 799,700 jobs over the past 12 months.
The jobless rate rose by 0.38 percentage points to 25.02 percent. That was the first time the rate has stood above 25 percent since the current series of figures was first compiled in 1976. With the economy contracting for the fifth quarter in a row in the period July-September, and expected to shrink 1.5 percent for the year, unemployment is set to continue rising.
As a result of the government’s austerity drive to cut the budget deficit, the number of jobs lost in the public sector in the third quarter was 49,400, while the private sector saw a fall of 47,600.
“The situation is serious,” Bloomberg quoted Ricardo Santos, an economist at BNP Paribas in London, as saying. “There is still room for deterioration in unemployment. Activity is weak and the government will reduce jobs.”
One of the most worrying aspects of the EPA was the loss of 179,400 permanent jobs, the largest fall in any quarter since the current crisis set in. The third quarter is normally a good year for the labor market as it coincides with the peak holiday season when temporary hiring tends to increase.
The number of households where all members are out of work rose by 312,700 over the past 12 months to 1.7 million. The construction sector, which had previously led an unsustainable boom in activity, shed 56,100 jobs in the quarter, while 32,700 jobs were lost in the services industry.
The jobless rate among workers under 25 years old rose by 0.94 percentage points to 52.34 percent in the quarter, while unemployment among foreign workers was 34.84 percent, 11.5 percent points more than for Spaniards.
Unemployment in the exclave of Ceuta hit 41.03 percent and stood at 35.42 percent in Andalusia and 32.66 percent in Extremadura