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Record 5.27 million jobless augurs a long recession

elEconomista
30/01/2012 - 3:05
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The most accurate measurement of the depth of the economic crisis in Spain was taken yesterday when the Economically Active Population Survey (EPA following the Spanish abbreviation) conducted by the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (INE) revealed a spine-chilling number of workers in Spain. 5,273,600 were without jobs at the end of 2011. Spain?s unemployment rate is now 22.85%.

The scenario was expected and underscores why the Spanish government is carrying out urgent, deep labor reforms as the country faces a long recession and a bleak employment prognosis. Experts predict that six million workers will be out of work in the near future. We are far away from a previously-stated danger zone of five million unemployed.

With a new government in office, the labor problem is still a salient issue. Last year, Spain eradicated 600,600 jobs, a figure that makes us recall the impact of the 2008 crisis when nearly 600,000 jobs were lost. In 2010 the balance was 237,800. More worrisome yet: the number of homes in which all eligible workers are unemployed has passed 1.5 million for the first time. This figure is troublesome because it has led many experts in the labor sector to prophesy a "social split" for the next few years if social protection mechanisms are not reinforced.

Unemployment among young workers is a long-standing and corrosive development in the service industry, which is one of the Spanish economy's strongest. The current situation is complicated and requires "deep and serious reforms that modernize our economy," said Luis Garicano, a professor at the London School of Economics. Predictions from international organizations do not anticipate easy tasks considering that a bona fide recession is looming on the horizon.

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