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Spain unemployment rate hits new high

Spain's unemployment rate hit a new high, with 25 percent, or nearly one in four, out of work.

Spain unemployment 25 percent july 27 2012Enlarge
Government employees demonstrate against the Spanish government's latest austerity measures, in the center of Madrid, on July 27, 2012. Spain's unemployment rate has hit a new high of 25 percent, leaving 5.7 million Spaniards out of work. (PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Spain's unemployment rate hit a new high this month, with nearly 25 percent of the population out of work, according to National Statistics Institute data released Friday, the Associated Press reported.

The country's unemployment rate rose 0.19 percentage points in the second quarter to 24.63, said the institute. The rate is one of the highest in the 17 nations of the eurozone.

Some 5.7 million Spaniards are seeking work, and half of those below the age of 26 are unemployed, according to Reuters.

The unemployment rate has not been this high since 1976, right after the death of the right-wing dictator Francisco Franco, the BBC noted.

In the period between April and June, some 53,500 people lost their jobs, compared to 365,900 in the first quarter, according to Agence France Presse.

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The AFP noted that the Spanish recession is the aftermath of a real estate boom that crashed with the debt crisis, pushing the Spanish financial sector to the brink of insolvency.

Economists predict the recession will only get worse. Capital Economics' Ben May told the BBC, "With the economy unlikely to expand any time soon, and the dire position the economy is in, Spain is probably more likely to fall deeper into recession."

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According to Reuters, the latest slump is expected to last into next year and the government said it does not expect the unemployment rate to fall below 22 percent until 2015.

The government is avoiding a full-blown financial bailout, according to the AP. "No rescue is going to be sought, The idea of a rescue is discarded," said Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/spain/120727/spain-unemployment-rate-hits-new-high