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Europe

Spanish unemployment soars in first quarter

Spain's unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 17.4 percent in the first quarter of this year, up from 13.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, increasing the number of jobless by more than 800,000.

Picture shows the blue and gold-starred EU flag with the word recession printed across it

Spain, like the rest of Europe, is in recession

Official figures from Spain's National Statistics Institute pushed the jobless rate up almost three-and-a-half points in the first quarter, compared to the end of last year.

The total number of unemployed now stands at 4.01 million, a jump of 1.836 million in the last 12 months, officials said.

Spaniards face tighter credit and real estate bubble

Spain had been one of Europe's great economic successes, boasting more than a decade of solid growth. But its economy has collapsed over the past 18 months due to the bursting of a real estate bubble and tighter credit brought on by the global financial crisis.

A woman pushing her shopping cart down the aisle of a Madrid supermarket

Rising unemployment has shoppers comparing prices

Spain has gone from being one of the European Union's largest net creators of jobs in recent years to having the 27-member bloc's highest unemployment rate.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast more bad news for Spain, predicting that the country will see two full years of recession, with unemployment hitting more than 19 percent next year.

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