Madrid, Jan 28 (IANS/EFE) The ranks of Spain’s unemployed grew by 295,300 in the fourth quarter of 2011 to a record 5.27 million, the National Statistics Institute said Friday in its latest workforce survey.
The jobless rate stood at 22.85 percent at the end of last year, its highest level since the 23.49 percent registered in the first quarter of 1995.
Spain’s economy lost 600,600 jobs in 2011 and the workforce participation rate declined to 59.94 percent.
The number of Spanish households with no member in formal employment climbed 149,800 in the last three months of 2011 to nearly 1.58 million.
Unemployment among foreign nationals living in Spain increased by 71,500 in the fourth quarter to more than 1.22 million, translating into a jobless rate of 34.8 percent.
The largest employment decline in the fourth quarter came in the service sector, where 124,500 people lost their jobs, followed by agriculture, with 42,300 positions eliminated.
The Spanish economy will contract 1.5 percent this year and unemployment will climb to 23.4 percent, the country’s central bank said earlier this week.
While predicting a “modest recovery” in 2013, with a 0.2 percent expansion in gross domestic product, the Banco de Espana said the jobless rate is likely to remain above 23 percent until sometime in 2014.