New figures show that Spanish unemployment levels have hit record levels, with nearly a quarter of the labour force unable to find work.
The news comes hours after the country’s credit rating was cut two notches to “BBB+” by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.
According to the new data released on Friday, unemployment levels hit 24.44 per cent at the end of March, the highest level since a statistical series began in 1996. The rate for people under 25 years of age was 52 per cent, up from 48.5 per cent in the previous quarter.
The number of unemployed people in the country has now risen to 5,639,500 people, according to the national statistics institute. This represents a rise of 365,900 from the last quarter.
Total unemployment has risen 1.5 per cent, from a level of 22.9 per cent of the labour force in the final quarter of 2011.
The institute also said that the number of households with every adult member unemployed rose by 153,400 to 1.7 million.
Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the 17-member eurozone.
“The figures are terrible for everyone and terrible for the government,’ Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, the country’s foreign minister, told Spanish National Radio. “Spain is in a crisis of enormous magnitude.”