Spain’s unemployment rate reached a new record of 27.16pc in the first three months of 2013 leaving more than six million out of work in the recession hit country.
The number of unemployed climbed by 237,400 people during the first quarter in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy, according to new data released by Spain’s National Statistics Institute on Thursday.
The jobless figure is the highest since Spain’s transition to democracy after the death of dictator Gen Francisco Franco and is expected to worsen before year end.
The new figures were worse than predicted by economists. Last month the Bank of Spain said it expected the jobless rate to rise to 27.1pc by the end of year and wouldn’t start to fall until well into 2014.
The number of households in which all members are unemployed soared by 72,400 people in the first quarter, reaching 1.91 million overall.
It is a far cry from 2007, the peak of an economic boom fuelled by construction, when Spain’s jobless rate was at an all time low of 7.9pc.
The conservative government of Mariano Rajoy will on Friday unveil a new package of reforms aimed at kick-starting the stagnant economy. The government, which took office in 2011 after winning a landslide victory, has already reformed labour laws making it easier to hire and fire.
The government is facing increasing public unrest over a series of harsh austerity measures, including a raft of cuts in public services, aimed at reining in the public deficit to within EU targets.