Public Employment Services offices in Spain

The number of unemployed people registered in the Public Employment Services offices in Spain increased by 59,444 in February, bringing the people out of work above the five million mark for the first time in history, official figure showed on Monday.

According to the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, 5,040,222 Spaniards are now unemployed.

This means a 1.19 percent increase over last month, while over the 12-month period February 2012-February 2013, unemployment rose by 328,124 people, or 6.96 percent.

If January had seen the service sector suffer most in the post-Christmas period, February saw people lose jobs in all sectors, although the service sector was again the hardest hit with 39,788 people losing their jobs.

There was also a decline of jobs available in agriculture with 7,987 people forced onto the unemployment register, followed by industry with 1,581 and construction with 1,377 people more out of work.

There was little difference between the number of men and women who were made unemployed, with 30,796 men losing their jobs, taking the overall total to 2,503,626, while 28,648 women lost their jobs, seeing female unemployment rise to 2,536,596.

Among the unemployed in Spain, young people are the hardest hit, with 55 percent of Spaniards aged 25 or under looking for a job. Their situation got worse during February with 16,026 of the newly unemployed aged 25 or less.

These figures come just 10 days after the government of Mariano Rajoy announced a series of measures aimed at helping create jobs among the country’s young in the wake of the State of the Nation debate. Rajoy’s government also passed laws to help promote small companies and make it easier for people to become self-employed.

February is the first time unemployment has passed five million in Spain according to the calculations of the Miinistry of Employment, which uses a different method of calculation to the Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE) which published a quarterly Inquest Into the Active Population.

The last Inquest into the Active Population, published in January put the number of people out of work in Spain at almost six million and that figure is almost certain to be surpassed in when the next Inquest is published in April.

A glimmer of hope could be this February’s rise in unemployment is the lowest February increase since 2008, while the government continues to insist the labor reform which was passed a year ago is the main factor behind that "improvement".

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