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Extensions to Spanish unemployment benefit

Thu 28th Oct 2010

Spain's government is currently struggling with the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone, yesterday agreed to extend the unemployment benefit payment of 420 euros a month by a further 6 months.

This is now the third such extension to the benefit, which was introduced in August 2009.

The benefit has now been extended until August 2011, Labor Minister Valeriano Gomez announced at his first news conference afer being appointed to the cabiet after last week's reshuffle.

Spain's unemployment rate stood at 20.09 percent after the second quarter, the highest in the entire eurozone, and was an increase of the 20.05 percent recorded in the first quarter - the highest seen in 13 years.

The National Statistics Institute (INE) is due to present data to report on the third quarter on Friday.

In September the government increased its forecast for 2011's unemployment rate to 19.3 percent of the work force from a previous estimate of 18.9 percent.

Spain has Europe's fifth largest economy, but fell into recession in 2008 due to a collapse of a decade-long property boom. 2010 brought a few shoots of recovery - growth of just 0.1 percent in the first quarter and 0.2 percent in the second.