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Spanish unemployment hits 24.6 percent

July 27, 2012 at 12:41 PM

MADRID, July 27 (UPI) -- The Spanish government said Friday nearly a quarter of the country's workforce is out of work.

Spain's unemployment rate reached a modern record 24.6 percent in the second quarter, the government said. The British Broadcasting Corp. said 5.7 million Spaniards are out of a job.

The modern era in Spain essentially began in 1976, the year after the country's longtime dictator Francisco Franco died.

The government is focusing on fixing the country's troubled banking sector after the housing market went bust leaving firms with billions of dollars worth of bad loans.

Last week, the government, which has negotiated for a $122 billion international bailout for its financial sector, voted to cut spending, including unemployment benefits.

The economy in Spain has been in a prolonged downturn, as it was in the peak of a housing market boom when the financial crisis began in 2008. The economy has been stalled since then, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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