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Spanish youth unemployment hits record 55 percent

Figure is the highest since the 1970s and twice the EU average, highlighting economic challenges unemployed Spanish youth face.

Unemployment line spainEnlarge
People line up to enter a government employment office as it opens on December 4, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. Current unenployment rate in Spain is at 26 percent. (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Unemployment among young people in Spain has hit a modern record at more than 55 percent, despite the increasing numbers of young Spaniards leaving the country to seek work.

Overall, the jobless rate hit 26 percent in the final quarter of 2012, the highest level since the end of Gen. Francisco Franco's dictatorship in the mid-1970s.

With little sign of recovery anytime soon, there are mounting concerns of social unrest and political radicalization among the young.

"We must create jobs and tackle income disparity as a matter of utmost urgency," Guy Ryder, director general of the International Labour Organisation, blogged from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "Allowing the jobs crisis to deteriorate further, particularly among young people, would sow the seeds of more social unrest and leave long-lasting scars on the very fabric of our society.

There's obvious relief among European leaders meeting in Davos that the market pressure on the euro zone has eased. Spain and Italy are selling bonds easily at much lower interest rates. Bailed out Ireland and Portugal are hoping to return to the markets this year.

Aside from Spanish unemployment, however, there's obvious relief among European leaders meeting in Davos that the market pressure on the euro zone has eased. Spain and Italy are selling bonds easily at much lower interest rates. Bailed out Ireland and Portugal are hoping to return to the markets this year.

Read more from GlobalPost: Spain's budget announced amidst social unrest

The Spanish unemployment rate is twice the European Union average.

The BBC writes that Spaniards between 16 and 24 saw their joblessness rate swiftly increase from 52.34 to 55.13 in just three months, rates which have yet to bottom out, according to a Citigroup expert.

 

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government had projected a non-too-sunny 24 percent rate for the final quarter — a figure that proved too low for Spain's sobering economic reality, Al Jazeera reports.

IG Markets market strategist Soledad Pellon told Al Jazeera that he expects general unemployment to continue growing in 2013, and the figure to to soar as high as 27 percent in the next two years.

Eurostat found that the general unemployment rate for the European Union stood at 11.8 percent in November 2012, while Spain and Greece tied for the highest unemployment rates in September of last year.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/spain/130124/spanish-youth-employment-hits-record-55-percent