UNEMPLOYMENT in Spain has hit 20 per cent for the first time for over a decade.
Official figures confirmed that 4,612,700 people – one in five Spaniards – were jobless at the end of March.
The number of people on the dole is the highest in the eurozone, according to national statistics agency INE.
“Everyone I know is unemployed, on the verge of losing their job or their benefits are running out. The truth is the very situation is very bad.”
Finance Minister Elena Salgado described the figure released as “very high”.
But she also pointed out that fewer jobs are now being lost than last year – some 290,000 in the most recent quarter compared to 800,000 last year.
Spain, once Europe’s biggest creator of jobs, has been in recession since 2008.
And Francisco Moreno, standing outside an unemployment office in Madrid, said: “Everyone I know is unemployed, on the verge of losing their job or their benefits are running out. The truth is the very situation is very bad.”
The jobless news came just after Spain’s credit rating was downgraded from AA+ to AA this week.
Europe’s fourth largest economy had previously enjoyed more than 10 years of uninterrupted growth before the global recession struck.