Deficit-cutting off course as Spain's jobless total climbs

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The Independent Online

Spanish unemployment hit a record 5.04 million after another 60,000 rise in the jobless count in February.

Although the rise was the lowest February increase for five years, the beleaguered economy is on course to miss deficit-cutting targets in 2013 and the European Union forecasts that Spain's unemployment rate could hit 27 per cent this year.

Guillaume Menuet, a Citigroup analyst, said: "A turnaround in the jobless rate in 2013 is very unlikely." Youth unemployment has soared above 50 per cent and the nation accounts for a third of all eurozone unemployment.

Spain's centre-right government led by Mariano Rajoy, pictured, is imposing austerity measures against the backdrop of the nation's second recession in just over three years and a £100bn bailout of its struggling banks.

The Bank of Spain warned last week that the recession would extend into the current quarter.