Ranks of jobless in Spain edge up toward 5 million

MADRID — The number of people registered as unemployed in Spain has edged up toward 5 million as a recession shows few signs of abating and struggling banks await bailout cash.

The Labor Ministry said unemployment rose a monthly 74,296 in November, or 1.5 percent, to a record 4.9 million. The unemployment rate is released separately, and quarterly. It stood at 25 percent at the end of the third quarter; youth unemployment was above 50 percent.

The figures came Tuesday, a day after European finance ministers approved release of $51.6 billion in bailout aid for Spanish banks hit by the real estate collapse in 2008.


The funds are part of a $131 billion rescue package earmarked for Spain’s banks. The loan package is designed to ease pressure on the government so it can concentrate on national finances and avoid a full-blown sovereign bailout.

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The latest installment includes $48.5 billion in loans for four banks already nationalized by the government: Bankia, Catalunya Caixa, Novagalicia, and Valencia Bank.

They must reduce the size of their businesses by 60 percent, cut the number of branches by 50 percent, stop lending to real estate development, and concentrate on retail loans and those to small and medium-size companies.

Many analysts think Spain’s banks will need much more.

‘‘One can’t help feeling that the amount being asked for could be one of many requests over the coming months,’’ said Michael Hewson, at CMC Markets. ‘‘With the aid being conditional on sweeping job cuts . . . the effects are likely to be felt across the entire Spanish economy, which is already seeing tax revenues shrink sharply.’’


Spain’s 17 semiautonomous regions managed to improve their finances in the first nine months of the year; their joint deficit stood at 1.14 percent of Spain’s GDP.