Spain unemployment tops 27 percent

April 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM
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MADRID, April 25 (UPI) -- Unemployment in Spain reached a modern record of 27.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013, the government said Thursday.

The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that there are more than 6 million people out of work in the country with Europe's fourth largest economy.

Spain's economy suffered a sharp downturn in the nearly global recession due to a huge building boom that went bust as the recession hit and a high exposure to investments in Greece.

The unemployment rate is the highest since 1976, the year after dictator Francisco Franco's death, the BBC said.

The International Monetary Fund has predicted Spain's economy would grow 1.6 percent in 2013, which is not considered fast growth, but it would bring the country out of recession.

"These figures are worse than expected and highlight the serious situation of the Spanish economy as well as the shocking decoupling between the real and the financial economy," said Jose Luis Martinez, an economic strategist at Citi.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told members of Parliament that the country's employment situation "will not be good, but it will be less bad than in the preceding years."

"Next year we will have growth and jobs will be created in our country," he said.

Rajoy is scheduled to reveal new economic initiatives on Friday. Meanwhile, rallies are planned to protest government spending cuts meant to reduce the government's debt burden.

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