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Spanish Jobless Rate Tops 25% In Q3 To Set New Record

October 26, 2012 RTTnews
Unemployment rate in Spain hit a new record in the third quarter as the country's ongoing austerity drive and deepening recession eclipsed government's efforts to revive the labor market.

Spanish jobless rate, which is the highest in the euro area, rose to 25.02 percent in the third quarter from 24.6 percent in the previous three months, data published by statistical office INE showed Friday.

The outcome was largely in line with economists' forecast. The rate was 3.5 percentage point higher than a year earlier.

The number of unemployed persons increased by 1.49 percent quarter-on-quarter to 5.78 million. That was 16.06 percent higher than a year earlier.

Employment, meanwhile, declined by 0.56 percent sequentially and by 4.6 percent on an annual basis to reach 17.3 million at the end of the quarter.

Catastrophic employment losses in the first three quarters of 2012 alongside the steady stream of dismal industrial production, bank lending, real income, and retail trade data are more precise barometers of the severity of the recession engulfing Spain than the restrained real gross domestic product contractions witnessed over the same period, IHS Global Insight Economist Raj Badiani said.

The level of employment is expected to shrink further in the latter stages of 2012 and 2013, with the budget deficit reduction measures chipping away at the the number of public-sector jobs, the economist added.

Private-sector employment will continue to feel the pinch with deteriorating domestic demand conditions encouraging firms to extend their labour shake-out, Badiani noted.

Preliminary estimates from the Bank of Spain showed this week that gross domestic product fell 0.4 percent in the third quarter, at the same pace as in the second quarter. On an annual basis, the economy is estimated to have contracted at 1.7 percent, faster than 1.3 percent in the second quarter.

The Spanish government is under tremendous pressure to seek a full-blown bailout for the economy. However, the country has so far avoided seeking external aid despite facing significantly high funding costs.

In September, the government unveiled a tight 2013 budget focused on cutting spending rather than tax hikes. The latest spending cuts are expected to reduce the budget deficit by 0.77 percent of GDP in 2013, with revenue adjustments yielding another 0.56 percent.
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