Spain’s unemployment rate climbed to a new record of 27.16% in the first quarter of 2013, official data showed on Thursday, as a deep recession sparked by the collapse of a property bubble ravages the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy.
The jobless rate jumped from 26.02% in the previous quarter. The number of unemployed climbed by 237,400 people to 6.2 million, the National Statistics Institute said.
Spain, once the motor of job creation in the 17-nation single currency area, is in a double dip recession, having yet to recover from the collapse in 2008 of a labour-intensive property boom in 2008 which had allowed economic growth to outpace the European union’s for more than a decade.
The Spanish economy contracted by 1.37% last year, the second worst yearly slump since 1970, and the government forecasts it will shrink again by between 1.0% and 1.5% this year.
Spain’s jobless rate fell to an almost 30-year low of 7.95% in the second quarter of 2007 at the peak of an economic boom that allowed the country to create more than half the new jobs in the euro zone between 2002 and 2005.
But the jobless rate has risen steadily every quarter since as the country’s housing market collapsed.