Pain in Spain deepens: 21.5% jobless

Spain’s unemployment rate has risen more than half a percentage point in the third quarter to a heady 21.5 per cent.

The country’s national statistics institute said yesterday that the jobless ranks swelled by nearly 145,000 in the July-September period. The jobless rate in the second quarter was 20.9 per cent. The total number of people unemployed as of the end of the third quarter was 4,978,300.

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Spain is struggling to recover economic growth after crawling out of nearly two years of recession. Opposition conservatives are tipped to score a landslide win in general elections on 20 November.

Global Insight economist Raj Badiani said: “The lack of job creation is likely to linger well into 2012. The austerity measures are cutting into the number of public-sector jobs, while private-sector employment is expected to fall well short of picking up the slack.”

He said a number of factors pointed to an unemployment rate above 20 per cent “for most of 2012”.