Spain's unemployment rate rises

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People attend a mass demonstration called by Spain's two main trade unions, CCOO and UGT to protest the country's huge unemployment rate. Picture:

Madrid - Recent data has shown that almost five million Spaniards were registered as unemployed in April.

The data cast a dark shadow for the millions who seek employment in the country.

The number of registered jobless fell by 0.91% or 46,050 people.

However, those gains were mainly down to restaurants and hotels gearing up for the holiday season, and in seasonally adjusted terms the number rose by 17,663 from March.

"The figure shows the continued weakness of the labour market and of the Spanish economy," said Citi strategist Jose Luis Martinez.

"It's not compatible with the (government's forecast) of a stronger economy in the second quarter of the year."

Last month's quarterly National Statistics Institute survey -- which polls registered and non-registered unemployed -- showed that 27% or 6.2 million people were out of work in the first quarter.

Spain's jobless rate -- the second highest in the EU behind Greece -- has risen every quarter since mid-2011 as the economy struggles to exit its second recession since the end of 2009.

April's figures show the biggest falls in registered unemployed were in the services sector and in construction, from which millions have already lost their jobs after the bubble burst in 2008.

The labour ministry figures also do not include the long-term unemployed who no longer register as out of work.

According to official data, almost two million people have been out of work for more than two years.

The government expects the unemployment rate to remain above 24% until 2016. 

-Reuters

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