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Spanish jobless claims jump by over 300,000 in March

April 2, 2020 03:19 PM


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Spain registered a leap of 302,265 jobless claims in March due to the "extraordinary impact" of the coronavirus pandemic, the labour ministry said Thursday.

It is reportedly the biggest monthly increase on record in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy, which has been locked down since March 14 to try to curb the spread of the virus.

The pandemic "changed the trend" in unemployment figures for March, after only 2,857 workers filled jobless claims in the first 12 days of the month, the ministry said in a statement.

The services sector recorded the most job losses, with 206,016 jobless claims in a country where tourism accounts for around 12 percent of national output. Tourism worldwide has been hammered by the pandemic, as governments imposed travel restrictions and airlines grounded scores of flights.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed in Spain hit 3.54 million in March, the labour ministry said.

It's monthly figure is a different measure from the quarterly unemployment rate, which is based on surveys and stood at 13.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to national statistics institute INE.

That is the second highest jobless rate in the eurozone after Greece. Since it imposed the lockdown, Spain has tightened restrictions further, with non-essential workers in the nation of around 47 million people asked to stay at home from March 30.

The limits expire on April 12 but Madrid will likely further extend them as COVID-19 cases continue rising although at a slower pace.

Spain has the world's second-highest death toll after Italy, with the virus so far claiming 9,053 lives, while the number of confirmed cases has passed the 100,000 mark.

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