Amid EU complacency, 7 facts about Spain's horrific jobless crisis

While EU officials complacently say "crisis what crisis?" the appalling damage inflicted or exacerbated by the euro is revealed in these figures on social devastation in Spain

by James Halling on 25 January 2014 20:01


Amid positive talk from senior European Union officials that the eurozone has turned the corner and is heading out of crisis, the social devastation wrought and exacerbated by the euro -- a currency wholly inappropriate to the economic fundamentals of most of its member states -- is easy to overlook.

As Spanish unemployment rose again past the 26 percent level, according to figures released last week, here, courtesy of Spain's best read English language news website, are seven telling facts about how bad things really are. If you ever hear an EU official saying things are looking rosy again, remember these numbers:

1. "Spain has now seen six straight years of job destruction. Some 198,900 jobs disappeared in Spain last year, and 3.5 million have vanished since the country's crisis began in 2008."

2. "There are 1,832,300 households in Spain where nobody has a job. That is 1.36 percent more than a year earlier."

3. "686,600 households in Spain have no income at all — not even social security. That is twice the figure seen in 2007, or before the crisis struck."

4. "More than 3.5 million in Spain have been out of work for at least a year — that's 61 percent", of the total number of unemployed.

5. "Spain's new jobs are of poor quality. The number of ongoing positions in Spain fell by 269,000 in 2013 while the number of temporary contracts rose by 81,300."

6. "Some 69,000 found work in 2013, but unemployment actually rose in the final three months of the year... because the number of 'active' people in Spain -- those working, or seeking employment -- actually fell by 267,900 last year, leaving a smaller pool of people fighting for the same jobs.

"Many people -- especially those in the 16–35 age group -- have simply given up looking for work, or have left the country... [and] are no longer included in the official figures."

7. "Working Spaniards put in 5.86 million hours of overtime every week from October to December, up 18.4 percent on a year earlier. A total of 57.7 percent of those hours, or 3,38 million a week are unpaid."

And that last figure on enormous amounts of unpaid overtime will be due to people being so scared of losing their jobs -- in a sclerotic economy with an inflexible labour market -- that they fear to say "no" to their employers.

What crisis? That crisis.

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