surinenglish

Worst ever leap in Spain's jobless total as more relief measures kick in

A Madrid job centre this week .
A Madrid job centre this week . / EFE
  • The Prime Minister has asked the EU to offer stronger financial support to avert a deeper economic crisis

The government announced the biggest monthly rise ever recorded in the number out of work on Thursday.

In March's social security data, based on people signing on, there was an increase nationally of 302,365 people, bringing the total up to 3,548,312 jobseekers. The number of people in work paying social security fell by 833,979.

There was initial confusion between ministers and the media as to whether the data included people temporarily laid off by the so-called ERTEs. The government stressed that ERTEs weren't counted as unemployed, and added that it had separately received 620,000 ERTEs and many more were expected. The government explained the fall in those in work as mostly temporary workers not having contracts renewed.

Costa del Sol

In Malaga and on the Costa del Sol, the figures out of work rose by 30,234 in March. The number of people paying into the Social Security system was down by almost eight per cent locally, compared to the middle of March. There was still confusion on locally as to whether local data included the ERTEs or not.

Faced with a continued barrage of calls for help from all parts of the economy, last Friday, the government banned companies making staff permanently redundant because of economic circumstances, a cheaper route than a normal redundancy. Instead firms were urged to only lay off staff temporarily until the crisis is over.

Help for renters and consumers

New decrees to help people renting their homes or premises and the self-employed have also been issued in the past week

Ministers have bolstered moves to protect consumers as well. It was announced that travel agents can give credits instead of a refund for cancelled trips but refunds must be given if the credits are not used within a year.

EU plea

Meanwhile, to help fund the emergency measures, Spain has joined Italy in asking for EU support. The Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, said on Saturday that Brussels, "should not fail citizens again", referring to the 2008 financial crisis.

Some countries, including Germany, Netherlands and Austria, have been resisting selling European-wide debt bonds to help fund crisis measures.