Holiday and Bar Shutdown Fuels Record Benefit Claims in Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca Areas of Spain

SPAIN has recorded a record number of people claiming unemployment benefit fuelled by job losses in the holiday and hospitality industries across the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca.

Official government figures released today (May 5) show that most of those people losing work were on fixed-term contracts and were aged under 35 years.

Tourist and hospitality-related businesses in the Andalucia and Valencia regions took a massive hit, with the biggest rises in unemployment rates being recorded in popular holiday areas.

The State of Alarm imposed in mid-March saw those key sectors shut down, with the country now at the start of a phased programme to get Spain out of isolation, including a partial reopening of bars from next week.

The latest unemployment figures record the number of people depending on unemployment benefits at record 5.2 million.

People in Spain registering as jobless rose by 7.97 per cent in April from a month earlier, or by 282,891 people, leaving 3.8 million people out of work.

The number of registered jobless people had risen in March by 9.31 per cent.

There was some slight consolation in that the unemployment figure of 3.8 million is still well short of the record peak recorded in 2013 at the height of the recession, when five million people were out of work.

The cost of paying benefits to the 5.2 million people fully or partly depending on unemployment benefits in April ballooned upwards by 207 per cent over a 12-month period to an eye-watering €4.5 billion.

“It is the highest spending in the history” of the unemployment service in Spain, Employment Secretary, Joaquin Perez Rey, told reporters.

Including furloughed workers and people on medical leave, as many as seven million people are depending on the state, which is nearly 30 per cent of the working population.

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Alex Trelinski