Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Spanish jobless hits 12-year high

Spanish construction site
A slowdown in construction has been a problem for Spain's economy

The number of unemployed people in Spain has reached a 12-year high of 11.3%, according to the Labour Ministry, the highest level in Europe.

As recession looms in Spain, European Union statistics put the jobless figure even higher at 11.9%.

The number claiming unemployment benefit rose by 192,658 to 2,818,026 - the highest level since April 1996.

A severe slowdown in the construction industry has been one of the the main causes of the economic slowdown.

Recent figures showed that the economy contracted by 0.2% in the third quarter compared to the previous three-month period.

Since October 2007, the number of those claiming jobless benefits has risen 37.5%.

On Monday the government set out a plan to help unemployed people who had difficulty keeping up with mortgage payments.

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