Spain’s jobless rate soars to a record high of 27.16 per cent

In nearly two million homes, every adult is out of work – with no end of recession in sight

Madrid

For the first time since modern statistics began, Spain reached the landmark figure of more than six million unemployed – or 27.16 per cent of the working population. And it did so with a vengeance, with a jump of 237,400 in the first quarter of 2013 to a record high of 6,202,700.

Whichever way you look at them, the figures are spine-chilling: youth unemployment is running at 57 per cent; the jobless rate has risen by a shade under 20 percentage points since Europe’s fourth-largest economy began plunging into the worst recession in 50 years in late 2007.

In nearly two million Spanish households, every adult is out of work. Even before the latest jobless figures, 22 per cent of Spaniards were living below the poverty line, according to the Catholic charity Caritas, and another 30 per cent had a hard time financially making it to the end of the month.

“There is nothing: no work for older people, younger, whoever,” says Cristina Moya, 24, a former cleaner who has just lost her job for a second time. She lives in Andalusia – the region which saw the biggest rise in unemployment this spring, by 31,100.

“My two sisters, boyfriend and sister-in-law are all out of work,” adds Ms Moya. “And the situation is getting worse, not better. I don’t know a single family that’s not affected.”

“We’re thinking of heading to Canada, or wherever we can,” says Jose Miguel, 30, a builder from southern Spain. “But the problem is wherever you want to go, you have to have a stash of money to start off with, and nobody’s got that. It’s better to stay with the family where you are a bit safer.”

“Even if you get a job, what is worse is they just harden up the working conditions dramatically,” adds Ms Moya. “They say that if you don’t want the job, there are loads of people out there who will take it.”

Other knock-on effects include a  return to the emigration of the 1960s and 1970s. In January, Spain recorded its first population decline in 17 years – by 200,000 people. Language schools are that rarest of phenomena right  now – a boom industry.

A continuous recession lasting 21 months has led to huge numbers of mortgage defaults: about 400,000 mostly residential properties have been repossessed and tens of thousands of Spaniards have received eviction orders. Meanwhile, a 30.4 per cent drop in property prices since 2007 has left many owing more than their homes were originally worth. Savings levels have dropped to their lowest in 13 years, and 52 per cent of 17- to 34-year-olds still live with their parents.

It is true that, while politicians’ promises that the end of the recession is just around the corner sound increasingly hollow (the International Monetary Fund, for one, does not believe them, and predicts that Spain’s economy will shrink by 1.6 per cent this year), and support for the major political parties has slumped to less than 50 per cent of the total vote, protests have by no means reached the levels of violence seen in Greece.

However, there are growing fears of a repeat of the scenes at one major anti-austerity protest in Madrid last September, which concluded with running street battles between police and demonstrators, and dozens of  injuries and arrests.

Last night, a handful of radical left-wing splinter groups was planning to hold a “Besiege Congress” rally, with the aim of “toppling the government and the fall of the regime”.

… and France is in trouble, too

In a significant blow to President François Hollande, unemployment in France has risen to a record 3,225,000. If part-time working is included, the number of people on state assistance has reached five million.

March saw the 23rd successive monthly rise in unemployment, bringing the total of job-seekers without work of any kind beyond the record of 3,195,500 set in January 1997. In percentage terms, joblessness is expected to reach a new high of 11 per cent by the autumn.

John Lichfield

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?