MORE than six million Spaniards were out of work in the first three months of 2013, raising the jobless rate to 27.2%.

This puts unemployment its highest level since records began in 1976 following the death of Franco.

Although the rate of increase has now slowed, the figures emphasise Spain’s struggle to pull itself out of recession.

“These figures are worse than expected and highlight the serious situation of the Spanish economy as well as the shocking decoupling between the real and the financial economy,” said Jose Luis Martinez, strategist at Citi in Madrid.

In mid-2007, the jobless rate in Spain stood at 7.9%, but has been rising relentlessly for the last seven quarters.

Prime Minister Rajoy told parliament that the job situation for the entire year ‘will not be good, but it will be less bad than in the preceding years’.

“Next year we will have growth and jobs will be created in our country,” he added.

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