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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid