Spanish regions have highest unemployment rates in EU

Madrid, April 16: The Spanish regions of Andalusia, Ceuta, Melilla, the Canary Islands and Extremadura had the highest unemployment rates of the entire European Union (EU) in 2013, the EU’s official statistics agency Eurostat said Tuesday.

Not only did Spain have the “top five” places in the ranking, but two others regions, Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia, were also in the “top ten” in seventh and ninth place respectively, Xinhua reported.

Andalusia, which had an economy based strongly on the tourist sector and agriculture, had an unemployment rate of 36.3 percent, while Ceuta and Melilla, which are Spanish enclaves on the north coast of Morocco, had 35.6 and 34.4 percent of their populations out of work.

Around 34.1 percent of people in the Canary Islands, situated in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa and 33.7 percent of the population of Extremadura, another mainly rural region in the southwest of the country, were also out of work, while the unemployment rates for Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia were 30.1 percent and 29.4 percent respectively.

Spain had an average unemployment rate of 26 percent in 2013 while a total of 13 of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities had an unemployment rate of over 21.6 percent.

The Eurostat study had even worse news for young people aged 15-24 in the worst hit regions, with Ceuta registering a youth unemployment rate of 71.7 percent (the worst in the EU), followed by Andalusia (66.1 percent), Canary Islands (65.3 percent), Extremadura (61.7 percent) and Castilla-La Mancha (61.3 percent).

IANS