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People queue outside an unemployment office in Madrid, Spain. Andres Kudacki/AP

Spanish unemployment rises again to creep towards 25 per cent

Spain’s unemployment rate is the highest in the industrialised world.

SPAIN’S JOBLESS QUEUE grew to 4.63 million people in August, its government said this morning – grim news for an economy suffering nearly 25-percent unemployment.

Snapping a run of four monthly declines, the number of job seekers in August climbed by 38,179 – or 0.83 per cent – from July, the Labour Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry’s monthly tally is based on the number of people registering as unemployed.

A broader, quarterly household survey by the National Statistics Institute provides the official unemployment rate, which hit 24.63 percent in the second quarter of 2012, the highest in the industrialised world.

Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party government has declared unemployment and economic growth its priorities even as it slashes costs in the midst of recession.

The government agreed last month to extend the life of a €400 monthly payment for jobless people whose unemployment benefits come to an end.

Regular unemployment benefits last a maximum of two years in Spain depending on how long a worker has made social security contributions.

The benefit will be raised to €450 for recipients who have a dependant spouse or partner and at least two children, the deputy premier said.

The payment is a lifeline to many people, with official data showing 1.74 million households with no member in work.

- © AFP, 2012

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