News / Europe

Unemployment Rises in Spain

A man offers his queue ticket as people wait in line to enter a government job center in Marbella, Spain, September 2, 2011.
A man offers his queue ticket as people wait in line to enter a government job center in Marbella, Spain, September 2, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

Spain's Labor Ministry says the number of people filing claims for unemployment benefits rose in August, bringing the total to 4.13 million.  European governments, like many around the world, are struggling to bolster economic growth while containing major public deficits.

The number claiming unemployment benefits in Spain went up by more than 50,000 last month.

Spain's Labor Ministry says the hike is typical of the month of August but, nonetheless, discouraging.

"Spain has the largest unemployment rate in the euro area and one of the largest unemployment rates in the world," noted Javier Diaz-Gimenez, professor of economics at the IESE Business School in Madrid. "In fact, our employment rate currently is about twice the euro area average and about three times the unemployment rate in Germany."

Spain's unemployment rate is more than 20 percent.  For those under the age of 25, it is more than 45 percent.

But economic growth does not appear to be on the horizon.  Spain, like a number of European nations, is struggling with a major public deficit.

Greece, Portugal and Ireland have already had to borrow money from their euro neighbors in order to avoid defaulting on their debts.  It has not yet come to that in Spain, and its lawmakers want to keep it that way.

On Friday, the lower house of parliament approved an amendment to the constitution that will force the government to keep its deficit low in the future.  The legislation is now set to go to parliament's upper house.  The controversial move is aimed at calming investor fears over Spain's public finances.

Diaz-Gimenez says controlling sovereign debt means hikes in taxes and cuts in public spending, policies that do little to stimulate economic growth.

"Policymakers in Spain face this hard choice between growth and budget stability, and they are choosing budget stability because it is the lesser of the two evils," added Diaz-Gimenez.

Governments across Europe and beyond are facing a similar conundrum.

In Italy, economic experts from around the world gathered for the annual Ambrosetti Economy Forum on Friday.  Worries about recession and slow growth opened the talks, with New York University economist Nouriel Roubini warning of a "significant probability" of a double-dip recession.

Speaking from the conference, Harvard University Economics Professor Martin Feldstein says the outlook in the United States and across much of Europe is grim, not to mention Spain.

"The numbers that we've seen recently for the U.S. on manufacturing, on construction, on consumers' sentiment tell me that the odds have gotten much greater, that the U.S. is going to continue to decline, and that we are going to be in a formal recession before the end of the year," Feldstein noted.  "In Europe, again I don't think you can talk about a single outlook for Europe.  Germany is strong, Greece is in terrible shape, Spain has 20-plus percent unemployment.  So some of the countries are already in economic downturn here in Europe."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that nonfarm payroll employment was unchanged in August, keeping the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent.  14 million Americans are out of work.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs