Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 12:13 UK

Spain predicts surge in jobless

People queue as they wait for a government job centre to open in Madrid
Spain's unemployment rate is nearly double the EU average

The Bank of Spain has predicted that the country's rate of unemployment will reach 17.1% in 2009 and 19.4% in 2010.

Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the European Union, with a rate of 15.5% in February, nearly double the EU average, according to Eurostat,

The Bank of Spain is also predicting that the public deficit will hit 8.3% this year and 8.7% in 2010, which is well over the eurozone limit of 3%.

It said that the economy would contract by 3% this year and 1% in 2010.

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