The number of people seeking unemployment benefits in Spain rose by 54,657 in December to a total of nearly 4 million as the recession continued to bite, government figures showed Tuesday.
The number increased by nearly 800,000 in 2009 and now totals 3,923,603 — 25.4 percent more than at the end of 2008, the Labor Ministry said.
It was the fifth consecutive monthly increase after claims numbers had dropped for three straight months over the summer period.
The ministry pointed out, however, that the increases are getting smaller as the country struggles to emerge from recession.
November saw an increase if 60,593 over October while in December of 2008 benefit claims jumped by 139,693 from the previous month.
In two years, Spain has plummeted from being Europe's leading job creator to having the region's highest unemployment rate — 17.9 percent at the end of the third quarter — following the collapse of its construction industry.
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