In the UK there is grave concern at the current level of unemployment at 2.10 million, which is 6.7%, and the highest since 1997, but that is nothing compared with the problem here in Spain.
According to the Labor Force Survey (LFS), unemployment in Spain increased by 802,800 people in the first quarter of this year, a 25% increase over the previous quarter. The strong growth - the rate is nearly 9,000 unemployed people every day - put the total at 4,010,700. This gives a rate of 17.36% the highest for 11 years.
The figure is more than twice the European average. It is a major embarrassment for Spain’s Socialist government, which had claimed the jobless total would peak at four million.
The Bank of Spain recently predicted the jobless rate would reach 19.4% in 2010, as the recession took hold.
One of the most tragic statistics that emerged is that there 1,068,400 households with all members unemployed and has doubled in a year. The number of households with all members unemployed grew by 241,200 for the quarter.
Unemployment increased in the quarter in all regions. The largest increases occurring in Catalonia (166,900 more unemployed than in the previous quarter), Madrid (114,700) and Valencia (109,500).
The unemployment rise in the Valencia region (this is the region I live in) of 109,500 people in the first quarter, is a 28.69% increase on the previous quarter and 103.78% over the same period in 2008. this gives the total number of unemployed for the region at 491,200.
The unemployment rate in the Valencia region finished the month of March at 19.20%. The rate was 18.69% among men, with 271,000 unemployed, and 19.87% among women, with 220,100 unemployed. The construction and the service industry sectors have been the major sufferers in this situation.
Some analysts believe the this situation is a consequence of the way Spain’s economy grew during the 1990’s, a combination of a low-cost construction boom and rampant consumer spending.