Spain Posts Rising Unemployment in November

Spain Posts Rising Unemployment in November

Spain’s queue of job seekers grew to a new record in November, official data showed Tuesday, a grim sign for a nation in the grip of a jobs-killing recession.

The number of people registered as unemployed grew by 74,296, or 1.5 percent, to 4.91 million in November from the previous month, the Labour Ministry said on Tuesday.

The figure was up 11 percent from a year earlier.

It was the highest number of job seekers recorded in Spain since existing records began in 1996.

The eurozone’s fourth largest economy has been shrinking for 15 months and the government is expecting the recession to carry on throughout 2013 before releasing its grip in 2014.

A broader, quarterly household survey by the National Statistics Institute provides the official unemployment rate, which hit 25 percent in the third quarter for the first time in modern Spanish history.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s right-leaning government is forecasting an end-2012 unemployment rate of 24.6 percent, with a decline to 23.3 percent in 2013.

But the growing queue of job seekers makes that forecast look increasingly optimistic, especially as the government raises taxes and slashes spending to curb the public deficit.

A Bank of Spain report last week said scarce available data pointed to shrinking economic output in the final months of 2012, noting further “intense falls” in construction investment.

In Spain, the government is tipping an economic slump of 1.5 percent this year.

Its forecast of a 0.5-percent contraction in 2013 is widely viewed as highly optimistic, however. The European Commission, for example, saying it expects Spanish output to tumble 1.4 percent next year.