The number of people unemployed in Spain is now just over 4 million people representing 17% of the workforce according to the latest government figures released this week.
The figures show that unemployment rose by 44,436 in February to bring the total to 4,008,789 people without work.
The figure is the highest since April 2016, when the country was still coming out of the recession caused by the banking crisis of 2009.
The figures also showed a substancial rise of 160,000 in the number of people on the government´s ERTE furlough scheme – bringing the total to 899,383.
The increase in the furlough scheme was due to the ongoing restrictions in key sectors of the economy – especially those of retail, hospitality and tourist industries.
Spain tourist and transport sectors have been particulary badly hit by the continued freeze in international travel and consequential collapse in tourist arrivals to Spain.
The latest figures show that January 2021 saw a close to 90% fall in tourist numbers compared to January 2020.
More than half of new furlough workers on ERTEs (85,660) came from the hospitality industry bringing a total of 442,473 in the sector on it.
The retail sector, on the other hand, saw an increase of 48,000 in the number of ERTEs in February reaching a total of 145,219.
Last month the Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez announced an economic stimulus package focused on the struggling sectors of the economy and is expected to include debt waivers and direct grants to companies in difficulty due to the pandemic.
The outlook for 2021 is hopeful but very dependent on the success of the domestic vaccine roll-out as well as a return to international travel.