Spanish unemployment almost 5 million

Unemployment in Spain increased during the third quarter to a record high of nearly 5 million amid financial uncertainty, according to government figures.

The actual amount of unemployed, 4,978,300, equates to a jobless rate of 21.5%. This is the highest figure since 1996 and is up 0.6% from the previous quarter. It is the highest unemployment rate of all the 17 Eurozone members.

Valeriano Gómez, Spain’s Minister for Labour and Immigration, said he thought the figures, released by the National Statistics Institute, were “bad, in no uncertain terms,” adding that the summer months were usually a good period for job creation.

Speaking after the Council of Ministers, Gomez admitted that a loss of this size “is not usual” during the third quarter and had never before dropped  “with such intensity.”

The minister said that the third quarter figures could be explained by the “bad performance” of the construction industry, adjustments in public employment and the reduction in employment within the domestic service industry.

Government spokesman and Minister of Public Works, José Blanco, said there is a “magic solution” to the problem of unemployment and to say otherwise would be “fooling” the Spanish. “There is no magic solution to the crisis, but there is a path to economic recovery and job creation,” he said.

Blanco thinks it is necessary to continue with reforms in Spain and to guarantee unemployment benefit “in the strongest terms” adding “We can travel the road to economic recovery and job creation, but concrete steps are always more useful than words,”.