Spanish unemployment rose more than economists forecast in the first quarter to the highest in at least 37 years as efforts to tackle the European Union’s biggest budget deficit crimped economic growth.
The number of jobless increased to more than 6 million for the first time, climbing to 27.2 percent of the workforce, compared with 26.02 percent in the previous three months, the National Statistics Institute in Madrid said today. That was more than the 26.5 percent median forecast of eight economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will tomorrow unveil measures aimed at halting a six-year economic slump. Spain’s recession dragged into a seventh quarter in the first three months of 2013, leaving the country with more than a fifth of all jobless people in the EU.
“The pace of the increase is surprising given we were supposed to be in a softer phase of the recession,” Ricardo Santos, a euro region economist at BNP Paribas SA in London, said in a telephone interview. “We could now end the year at 28 percent unemployment and we may see a downward revision of first-quarter growth.”
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