Spain passes 5 mn jobless for first time

Madrid, Mar 4 (EFE).- Some 5.04 million people were registered as unemployed in Spain in February, marking the first time joblessness hit this level, the Employment and Social Security Ministry said Monday.

The number of unemployed in Spain rose by 59,444, or 1.19 percent, last month, the ministry said.

The number of jobless people in Spain has increased by 328,124, or 6.96 percent, since February 2012, with all sectors of the economy affected.

The service sector has lost 39,788 jobs, or 1.28 percent, while agriculture has lost 7,987, or 3.93 percent; industry 1,581, or 0.29 percent; and construction 1,377, or 0.28 percent, the ministry said.

Employers hired 949,844 workers last month, down by 40,144, or 4.05 percent, compared to February 2012.

A National Statistics Institute, or INE, report released late last month said Spain's unemployment rate was at a record 26.02 percent, with 6 million people out of work.

Spain has been mired in a deep recession since 2008 due to the financial crisis caused by the bursting of the real estate bubble.