Ranks of jobless in Spain edge closer to 5 mn

Madrid, Dec 5 (IANS/EFE) The number of people officially registered as jobless in Spain climbed by 74,296, or 1.54 percent, in November to 4,907,817, according to figures released Tuesday by the Spanish Employment and Social Security Ministry.

Over the 12 months ending Nov 30, the ranks of the unemployed rose by 487,355, or 11.02 percent.

It marks the second worst November since records began to be kept in 1997, topped only by 2008, when the number of unemployed increased by 171,243 people.

The services sector was the hardest hit by job losses, with 63,166 people being laid off.

November marked the fourth consecutive month with an increase in the number of unemployed people in Spain, which has a population of roughly 47 million.

Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, said last Friday that Spain's unemployment rate rose to 26.2 percent in October, up from 25.8 percent in September and the highest rate in the EU.

The Spanish economy remains hampered by the fallout from the collapse of a long-building housing bubble, which left many of its banks saddled with toxic assets and created an overhang of unsold homes.

Weak domestic demand and a slowing global economy have made Spanish businesses reluctant to invest in expansion or new ventures, the bank said.

Median annual household income in Spain has fallen 1.9 percent this year to 24,609 euros ($32,193), according to the latest national survey on living conditions.

With Spain mired in recession for the second time in four years, 12.7 percent of families said they struggle to make their money last until the end of the month, compared with 9.8 percent last year.

--IANS/EFE

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