By Alex Trelinski • 02 April 2020 • 12:14
SPAIN saw a massive rise in the unemployment rate in March, with close to 900,000 jobs being lost due to lay-offs caused by the State of Alarm measures.
Labour Minister, Yolanda Diaz, said that it was the highest-ever recorded monthly increase, which meant that 3.5 million people were out of work.
“This is a totally unprecedented situation,” Diaz commented.
The percentage leap from February to March was 9.3 per cent, though the overall number is still below the large unemployment highs of 2013, when Spain had one of the biggest jobless figures in the European Union.
The March figure of 898,000 losses includes around 550,000 temporary workers involved in sectors like tourism, hospitality, and construction.
“It is always a big problem and it is the double challenge we have: to fight the epidemic and to avoid the problems to the economy,” Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos told RNE radio.
“We will have to work on relaunching the economy once we can get control of the epidemic.”
The latest figures do not include the ERTE temporary layoffs, where firms in financial difficulty can temporarily suspend staff contracts.
Many companies have resorted to the ERTE option in the last few weeks.
The leader of one of Spain’s biggest trade unions, Unai Sordo, put the situation bluntly: “The country is essentially paralysed as a result of the coronavirus emergency.”
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