Spain’s Economic Fortunes Plummeting

Posted April 27th, 2012 at 10:05 am (UTC-5)
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With Spain's economic woes deepening, its foreign minister says the country is facing “a crisis of enormous magnitude.”

The Madrid government said Friday that nearly a quarter of its workers are now unemployed — the worst rate in the 17-nation euro currency bloc. The new jobless figure is an 18-year high in Spain, which has the eurozone's fourth largest economy.

News of the unemployment rate came a day after the financial rating firm Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's credit standing by two notches. S&P said the Spanish government's budget prospects “will likely deteriorate against a background of economic contraction.”

Foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told Spanish National Radio that the new jobless figures “are terrible for everyone and terrible for the government.”

One unemployed economist, Alberto Lopez, said Spain's economic prospects are bleak.

“Very negative. The risk spread (for Spanish government loans) rises every day. Today they have cut the rating on Spain and is increasingly worse. I see the future as very uncertain, very negative. I think the government is doing things very badly.''

Another unemployed worker in Spain, Vladimir Kritsak of the Ukraine, said he has tried — in vain — to find work, even after learning new job skills.

“I've taken a load of courses as an electrician. Thinking the building sector was no good, I took a course in massage but that was no good either. They don't want to hire me because they say I'm old, they say I can't work as a masseur. I have lost (MAN PAUSES)…I thought that through courses, I would have found a job. So, I'm looking through friends, on the street.''

Three debt-ridden eurozone countries — Greece, Ireland and Portugal — have already had to secure billions of dollars in international bailouts to avoid defaulting on their debts. Italy, with the eurozone's third largest economy, is also facing new financial pressures. The Rome government was forced Friday to pay higher interest rates as it borrowed more money.