The number of unemployed in Spain has risen for a fifth consecutive month resulting in a record number out of work as Europe’s fourth largest economy continued to contract.
According to the latest labour ministry figures unemployment rose 1,897 in December to 4.42 million, the highest figure since records began in 1996. This was however significantly lower than the increase in November when 59,536 people found themselves out of work.
Spain had seen signs of a recovery in the first half of the year but tourism and exports weakened towards the end of the year once again weakening the economy.
Union leaders and employers met with Labor Minister Fatima Banez last week after newly elected Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked both sides to reach agreement on changes to collective wage-bargaining rules and ways to resolve labor conflicts outside the courts.
At a news conference in Madrid State Secretary for Employment Engracia Hidalgo said “The figures for the number of registered unemployed for the month of December confirm the deterioration of the economic situation during the second half of the year.”
She added that the figures also point to the failure of the labor-market overhaul which had been implemented by the previous Socialist government.