Q4 Spanish Unemployment Soars By Most Since Lehman, Hits "Astronomical" 23.3%

Tyler Durden's picture

For anyone convinced that yesterday's S&P two notch downgrade of Spain to A is the last one for a while, we have some bad news: in Q4 Spanish unemployment soared by the most since the Lehman collapse, hitting what new PM Mariano Rajoy called an "astronomical" 5.4 million. This compares to 4.978 million people unemployed at the end of Q3 2011. Since the official number is not yet public and will be released on January 27 we will take his word for it. In which case it becomes clear that in Q4 the Spanish economy experienced a Lehman-like collapse, losing more than 400K people, or the most since the bankruptcy of Lehman brothers. In percentage terms this means that Spanish unemployment rose by a ridiculous 2%, or from 21.5% to 23.3%, in one quarter! And since Spain is a country of the Keynesian persuasion, we can only assume the number includes a whole bunch of meaningless birth/death and seasonal adjustments, but we'll leave it at that. Incidentally, it means that by the time the mean reversion exercise, with cost-cutting and what not is complete, Spanish unemployment will be well north of 30%, and 2 out of 3 people aged between 16 and 25 will be out of a job, if ot more. It also begs the question just what the real unemployment picture in the US, which lately has put the Chinese Department of Truth to shame, would be if reported on a realistic, unadjusted, and not "workforce contracted" basis. The chart below shows you everything you need to know.

This is what quarterly Spanish unemployment looks like pre-BLS "intervention"

From AP:

"This year (2011) is going to close with 5.4 million people... who want to work but cannot," Rajoy said, anticipating official unemployment data due to be published on January 27.


"It is an astronomical figure," he said in a speech to supporters of his conservative Popular Party in Malaga, southern Spain, in which he reaffirmed fighting unemployment as his top priority.


"This is our challenge and all our efforts and all our policies are going to be dedicated to this," he said, without giving a new percentage rate.


Economists have warned that Spain may be back in recession with the economy likely to contract in the first quarter of 2012. The Bank of Spain said the economy shrank in the last quarter of 2011.

As a reminder, S&P said there is a substantial chance it would lower Spain even further:

"We could lower the ratings again if additional labour market and other growth-enhancing reforms are delayed or we consider them to be insufficient to reduce the high unemployment rate."

Time to start pricing in the transition from spAin to sBain?

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Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Why aren't they rioting like their European friends?

Caviar Emptor's picture

They still have social programs to keep them from starvation. Some are leaving  for Sth America But austerity is the only solution to sovereign debt crisis. Lil problem. That will be the spark

Ghordius's picture

well, every summer an incredible amount of north africans come for the harvests - so in theory they could just enforce their labor laws and every Spaniard would have a (very badly paid and hard) job...

whatsinaname's picture

Soaring on the downward side are the BDI and BSI. Any other shipping indices that are not collapsing ?

trebuchet's picture

US transportation going down

WonderDawg's picture

Good thing we're in a recovery, because otherwise that could be bad.

Shocker's picture

Right, this Recovery is great. We have some good math and techniques to keep our unemployment numbers down,

i guess other places haven't learned them yet.



Pegasus Muse's picture

Our unemployment stats aren't any better.  John Williams has US unemployment rate at 22 or 23%:


LawsofPhysics's picture

Parity, the world over, on ever front.  Wake the fuck up, this s what the elites want.  It play into the world currency perfectly.

economics1996's picture

Williams exaggerates, 11.2% to 11.4%.

papaswamp's picture

HARPEX...on no that has been diving too.

SMG's picture

Not that it means anyting, but the baltic dry index is collapsing as well.



Hephasteus's picture

It collapsed in 2008. That is a picture of it falling through the floor. That means nothing but essentials is moving or a few non essentials and some of the essentials can just pound sand.

Cheesy Bastard's picture

every Spaniard would have a (very badly paid and hard) job...

LOL.  Jobs Hispanics just won't do?

Zero Govt's picture

living in Spain half the year i can tell you there's absolutely no signs of this unemployment or decay (except for the ghost properties built for tourists 2nd homes)

the streets in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Marbella are clean, civil and look to be doing just fine. I think the youth unemployment is kept bottled simply because of the family support system and the Spanish Govts overly generous welfare State

if it's not the socialists ruining the country it's the right wing and Church.. both have culturally hed-fuked the Spanish into a modest unambitous existence.. they couldn't care less about really getting ahead and anyone that does gets severe jealousy (like a few too many parts of Europe)

Not that there's any chance of that after 14 years of suicide socialism, the property sector is a graveyard and the energy sector is an expensive green joke (one wind energy Co was running diesel engines when the wind wasn't blowing to wrack up revenue ...yet another public-private fuking farce)

this is another country strangled to death by the State and its rotten backers (Church included)

sun tzu's picture

How can the church have so much influence when only 16% of the people attend church weekly? Spain has become one of the least religious countries in Europe. Gay marriage is legal and over 70% of Spaniards support gay marriage. 

piceridu's picture

I spend a lot of time in Italy too. It's the same there. If it wasn't for family, family homes and property passed from generation to generation without being mortgaged to the gills, Italy would be in much more trouble...and to answer your question:

"How can the church have so much influence when only 16% of the people attend church weekly?"

Almost none of my family goes to church but the tenacles of the Church are far reaching. Go to Rome and check out the Vatican museum...and see for yourself what real wealth looks like. There's a reason why Vatican City is a seperate sovereign country protected by Swiss guards. 



jonjon831983's picture

Possible good example for comparision.  According to a NYTimes article a couple months back, some farm jobs in the US are not getting filled by unemployed Americans precisely because they do not want to have poor pay and hard job.

Can't find the article anymore, but the farmer was saying how American unemployed may be interested initially, but once they get on the farm they complain.  Some just leave, others work for a bit then ditch.

The only ones who were willing to work these difficult back breaking beneath us entitled ones are the immigrants.

I guess time will tell if we get a change in mentality.

Hoping the article I read was a small sample size and a certain type of farming.


Grapes of Wrath... redux. post-credit bubble.


Barring this example... have you ever seen the running of the bulls? That'll clear up the streets of any unemployed ruffians. :|

Ahmeexnal's picture

The are serfs to a ruling imperial elite. That's why it will take them longer to riot, if at all.

Ghordius's picture

I actually wanted to write something against your statement but I have to admit Spain was quite late in leaving it's Fascist Age and could be one of the first to reenter it....

Au Shucks's picture

The first to re-enter it?  Whatever you're smoking, it's working.  If you understand Fascism, and I hope that you at least know the definition if nothing else, then you would know most of the Western world is already Fascist.. Fascism in its truest form, in fact. 

Ghordius's picture

This is not the way Europeans see it. Did the US or the UK experience fascism? No. What is happening to you should get a different name, perhaps MultiCorpImperialism or CEO-Oligarchy, or NeoCorpocraty, or just Kleptocracy, like in Greece. Fascism might become a *response* to this, in Greece, Italy and Spain. The differences are huge. If you live in it. So please don't be flabbergasted if Monti is killed by fascists, for example.


In a typical european fascist takeover, the national interests are defined differently from the current neo-liberal regime. Typically "foreign" financial interests are demonized, as all financial wizardry. Banks are the first line of the economy that has to conform to the regime's interests (does this sound familiar?) but the "free market" principles are thrown overboard. I know it sounds silly to US ears, fact is European Ideologies translate differently to the UK/US context.

sun tzu's picture

There is no free market in Europe or the USSA. Laws are written by the multinationals and their statist allies in order to crush smaller competitors and the ignorant masses. They've passed so many laws and regulations that we are all criminals, except the laws will be selectively enforced against the little people.

economics1996's picture

The USA is fascist.  The difference between Germany 1933-45 and the USA 1946-present, is we win our wars and write our own history.  When we get our ass kicked by Germany-Russia-China, the history books will read a little differently.

philipat's picture

"The are serfs to a ruling imperial elite. That's why it will take them longer to riot, if at all."

You mean the US?

midtowng's picture

No, austerity isn't the ONLY solution. There are other solutions, and the Spanish people are going to want to explore them soon.

Ahmeexnal's picture

Armed insurrection, beheading of the imperial elite and their political lackeys.

mirac's picture

uh huh...a Ganhdi moment, would be the best option. but it looks like too far of a stretch now, 

sushi's picture



They could buy their labour statistics software from the same firm that supplies the USA. There would be significant upfront cost but the Spaniards would get their unemployment down to 7.5% within a couple of months.

If they also wanted to boost GDP, well GS has an app for that.


TeresaE's picture

Obamacare mandates ALL employees - including part time - have health insurance.  My small biz has seen our monthly premiums double since Obamacare was passed.

We cannot afford (and are canceling) our health insurance and if we were to resort to a 21 hour work week the number of employees would force us into the mandatory size for business.

Meanwhile, McD's and Walmart won't have to pay insurance for ANYONE.

Morons, Ivory Tower non-productive and do-gooders have destroyed this country.

21 hour work weeks (and food stamps, free health care and the like) would only be one more plateau on our way to the third world.

Everything is screwed and their are no "fixes" left.  Cross your fingers and hope for the best, it is going to be a bumpy ride down.

Teamtc321's picture


You are so spot on imo, many companies I know are in the same position, including us. There has been zero thought put into this problem. Unless the thought was to have unemployment sky rocket.

It just eye bleeding the rules these moron's pass that have never been involved in small business. They just don't understand that small to medium business is what drives our good paying middle so called class job's. Not only that, it is the productive employment, the actually worker's that are paying the wages for all the fed and state PAY CHECK'S and pension's.

With all the pressure of Bi-Flation on operation margin's of small business, this is really what we need at this point, complete idiot's they are that wonder why unemployment is so high.   


thomas pain's picture

at least obamacare doesn't bail out the financial miasma left over from the last 30 years of inept political reach arounds.  open your eyes beyond your myopic political opinion.  obamacare isn't monetarialy different than the last 8 years of "war" waged in the middle east, granted i do not agree whatsoever with this government legislated "heathcare" policy nonetheless. 

i suggest you start your financial education before referencing your political whining.  if americans knew how bad they were getting F'd in the A over the last three years, they wouldn't stop bombing the banks.  therefore, waste your energy on bank bombs, not politics.

Calmyourself's picture

You give most thinking folks a pain of that I am sure..  No bailout in Bammycare, it is the worlds largest giveaway to the insurance and big pharma sectors, just shut up, please..

sun tzu's picture

The politicians and bureaucrazy enable the corporate thieves. 

RunWild's picture

As a non-McD fast-food franchisee (pizza) and employer of more than 50 (200+), I can say anecdotally, that the impending doom and havoc that will be known as Obamacare, has not even BEGUN to be registered within our industry. I am constantly amazed at the overall apathetic response I get when I ask a fellow franchisee "what are you going to do?"





sun tzu's picture

Apparently, you didn't give The Messiah enough money to receive a pardon from Obamacare

Shocker's picture

We will call them Multi-Part Timers, or some other clever name.

TheGardener's picture

Odious debt of nations found no longer being sovereign in anything but name ? EU recovery rate will be negative, spend to Dollars to retrieve a dime...

Austerity as in debtors prison will mean riots and more,
social programs to keep them in starvation as in IMF not so much ...globalists back to hades and the rest back to the tribe

Marco's picture

Austerity is the only solution to a trade deficit based sovereign debt crisis ... but that's completely orthogonal to socialism. You can shrink the pie and still redistribute. In fact that's what countries like this did in the past with devaluation, devaluation == austerity ... but they remained socialist regardless.

The difference between then and now is that devaluation is impossible and price/wage/tax stickiness makes economic adjustment a whole fuckton harder.

GeneMarchbanks's picture

Southern Spain doesn't exactly revere 'work'. Why would they? Those waiting for riots, keep waiting cause it ain't happening unless the Catalans want out or Barca loses to some chump...

sun tzu's picture

Wait until the government's credit line is cut. No more welfare means no more food. 

Sudden Debt's picture

Right after they finish their siestas....

But in the end it will turn into a civil war and not just riots.
Youth unemployment is near 76%, talk about broken dreams....
The next generation is so fucked over there that the only thing to hold on to is anger.
And as the spanish also had a extreme large grey secotr, which is,virtually gone now, those numbers in reallity are still way worse!

uno's picture

newt gingrich says they should get a job right after taking a shower, 

Kayman's picture

I think Newt ought to have a golden shower.

 And I doubt that his lilly white manicured thieving hands have ever seen real work.

uno's picture

sadly him and freddie mac took a golden shower on us:

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was paid between $1.6 and $1.8 million in consulting fees by Freddie Mac according to officials within the organization, Bloomberg reports.

What, exactly, Gingrich did for Freddie Mac during the eight years he worked with them is the subject of dispute.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/11/16/gingrich-reportedly-paid-between-1-6-and-1-8-million-by-freddie-mac/#ixzz1jSdSfsuI