Unemployment rate in Spain rises to 14.4% in the first quarter amid Coronavirus crisis

The deadly virus outbreak has spread to more than 170 countries in the world infecting more than 3 million people

The unemployment rate in Spain spiked by 14.4 percent in the first quarter f the year, data from the National Statistics Institute stated on Tuesday, due to the coronavirus or COVID-19 lockdown disposed in mid-March for slowing the coronavirus pandemic.

The rate of jobless in the first quarter compared with the 13.8 percent of the fourth quarter of 2019 and a forecast of 15.6 percent by the economists polled by Reuters.

Spain has a historically high unemployment rate

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The data released on Tuesday is only partial as the country went into lockdown only two weeks before the end of the quarter and most of the household survey on which the indicator is based had already been carried out, the statistics institute said. Spain, which has the world's third-highest death toll from the disease after the United States and Italy, has banned most outings since March 14.

The survey only reflected a loss of job destruction of 285,600 jobs in the quarter, whereas according to data from the Social Security register almost 900,000 jobs were lost in March alone. The social security data showed in early April that 898,822 Spaniards had lost their jobs since the start of the lockdown, including around 550,000 temporary workers. The tourism and construction sectors were the hardest hit.

Spain has a historically high unemployment rate compared to its neighbours. The rate peaked at almost 27 percent in the wake of the financial crisis in 2013 and remained above 13 percent in late 2019 even after years of strong growth. According to forecasts by the Bank of Spain, the coronavirus crisis could push the unemployment rate up to 21.7 percent this year, with the economy contracting as much as 12.4 percent.

(With agency inputs)

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