Spanish official unemployment rises for second month
The number of people unemployed in recession-hit Spain rose in September for the second month in a rowMadrid - The number of people unemployed in recession-hit Spain rose in September for the second month in a row, the government said on Friday.
There were 3.709 million job seekers in the country last month, up 80,367, or 2.2 percent, from the level in August, the employment ministry said.
The figure confirms a rise in unemployment that began in August, when the number of jobless jumped 2.4 percent, after three months of declines.
Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega acknowledged that the figures were "bad" but the government was "on the right track" and the country is "slowly" recovering from the economic crisis.
"The government will continue to work to stop the fall in employment, to recover economic growth and provide protection to those who are in this situation," she told a news conference after a cabinet meeting.
Spain entered recession in late 2008. Its economy, Europe's fifth biggest, has been hit particularly hard by the world economic crisis after a decade-long boom driven by the construction industry came to an end.
"In line with our predictions, unemployment has unfortunately increased in this month, but at a slower pace that in the same period last year," the secretary general for employment Maravillas Rojo said.
The government's method for calculating unemployment differs from that used by the National Statistics Institute, which in July estimated that the jobless figure has passed the four-million mark, with an unemployment rate of 17.92 percent, about twice the eurozone average.
The government has forecast that the rate will remain high, closing the year at 17.9 percent and rising to 18.9 percent in 2010.