Registered unemployment in Spain, where construction firms added more than 1 million jobs between 2000 and 2007, increased in June as the collapse in home-building continued and the impact of the shock to the financial sector gradually worked its way across the real economy.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits rose 1.5 percent, or 36,849, from May to 2.39 million, the Labor Ministry reported today. From a year ago, the number of claimants has risen by 22 percent, or by 424,555.
Housing starts were down 41 percent in April from a year earlier and the number of mortgages granted fell 9.4 percent. Finance Minister Pedro Solbes admitted for the first time yesterday the that the home-building collapse will likely bring the Spanish economy to the brink of a recession by the end of this year. The Spanish economy expanded by 3.8 percent last year.
Jobless claims among construction workers were up 71 percent on the year to 370,208. Unemployment in service industries increased 18 percent or 211,198. The number of immigrants claiming benefits jumped 74 percent to 258,800. The number of registered workers in Spain declined 0.1 percent, or 18,823, to 19.36 million.
Spain's unemployment rate, as published by the statistics institute and based on the monthly labour survey, jumped to 9.6 percent in the first quarter from 8.6 percent in Q4 2007. The institute will release figures for the second quarter on July 24.