- Title: SPAIN: Jobless hits monthly record low government blames banks
- Date: 5th February 2009
- Summary: SHOWS LA SAGRA, SPAIN (FILE) (REUTERS) CARS TRAVELLING ON ROAD NEAR INDUSTRIAL ESTATE EXTERIOR OF BRICK FACTORY LARGE STOCK OF NEW BRICKS IN FACTORY MACHINE LIFTING BRICKS
- Embargoed: 20th February 2009 12:00
- Location: Spain
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Economic News,Employment
- Reuters ID: LVAEYGC7OTYX1VZ9FBEZ68BTEZDH
- Story Text: The number of people registered as unemployed in Spain leapt by a record 199,000 in January, the biggest monthly rise on record, and the government blamed banks for not lending enough money.
The tenth straight monthly rise took Spain's total jobless to 3.33 million, data showed on Tuesday (February 3), highest in records going back to 1996 and close to the 3.49 million in Germany, Europe's biggest economy with nearly twice the population of Spain.
Since January last year, the number of Spanish jobless has risen by
06 million people or 47 percent as thousands of small businesses, which employ around 80 percent of the workforce, lose access to easy credit and fail to roll over debts.
The government says unemployment will not hit the four million mark.
The latest unemployment rate calculation, for the fourth quarter, showed a rise to 13.9 percent, the highest level in the European Union and nearly twice the regional average, following the collapse of housing and credit booms.
Spain's Socialist government, facing its first wave of small labour protests, says domestic banks are bringing the economy to its knees by restricting credit.
Spanish consumer confidence edged up to 50.1 points in December from
9 points in December on lower interest rates and inflation, but was still far from a rate of 70.9 last January, government data showed.
Analysts doubted the government could do anything to make banks lend more given the fragile state of their balance sheets.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero met financial sector leaders on Monday (February 2) to urge them to boost lending, the third such meeting since October.
Spain faces its worst recession in 50 years, with many economists forecasting the economy will contract this year and next.
January's jobless data showed Spain's economic crisis had spread far from its roots in a housing market collapse.
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