April 25 - More than six million Spaniards were out of work in the first quarter of this year, raising the jobless rate in the euro zone's fourth biggest economy to 27.2 percent, the highest since records began in the 1970s. Hayley Platt reports.
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Lola Docampo is studying English in Madrid in the hope it will improve her job prospects. She used to be a teacher herself until she was made redundant last year thanks to harsh cuts in the public sector. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LOLA DOCAMPO, UNEMPLOYED TEACHER LEARNING ENGLISH, SAYING: "If I can't work as a teacher, I can happily work cleaning stairs, what else am I going to do, at least I´ll feel fulfilled. But now I almost feel like someone who doesn't want to work or study. But what can I do? I'm 30 years old and I'm not working." The latest figures show things are getting worse. Spanish unemployment topped 6 million in the first quarter of the year - the highest since records began in the 1970s. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ANGEL CRESPO, UNEMPLOYED, SAYING: "There's four of us at home and none of us has a job. My wife and I get a government subsidy and we have to pay a mortgage and that's overwhelming and we've got no prospects." Protests like this one last month have become a familiar sight in Spain. Hundreds of Spaniards took to the streets in Madrid over austerity measures being imposed by the government. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wants to slash 65 billion euros by 2014. But the cuts have been painful and are having little effect on growth. Thomas Costerg is a European Economist at Standard Chartered. SOUNDBITE: Thomas Costerg, European Economist, Standard Chartered, saying (English): "I think the economy is still struggling and another worry is that the housing and construction sector are still struggling, house prices are still down they're not recovering and I think this is in stark contrast to what's happening in the U.S." Unemployment in Spain has been rising for seven quarters. It's even worse for the country's youth - more than half the population's 16-24 year olds are out of work.
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