28 Jan 2012

Spanish dole queues stretching right out the door

12:24 pm on 28 January 2012

Spain's jobless rate shot to 22.85% at the end of 2011, the highest in the industrialised world.

And the country's National Statistics Institute says more than half of all 16 to 24 year-olds are out of work.

Spain's unemployment figure reached 5.3 million in the last quarter of 2011, up from 4.9 million in the third quarter. That's the highest rate in almost 17 years.

Spain already has the highest jobless rate in the 17-nation eurozone and the unemployment rate is more than twice the average of the eurozone, which stood at 10.3% in November.

Spain's new ruling Popular Party conservative government has pledged labour reforms to try to halt further unemployment.

On Thursday, public service employees staged a series of demonstrations across Spain to protest against unemployment and increasing austerity measures.