Friday, April 27, 2012

Spain's current unemployment rate exceeds the US rate during the Great Depression

The latest Spanish unemployment rate was published today. There isn't much one can say about it other than to draw the following parallel.

Here is the chart of US unemployment rate going into the Great Depression: it maxed out at 21% - 22% (early to mid 30s).

US unemployment rate (source: Wikipedia)

This is Spain's unemployment rate now: 24.4%.

Spain's unemployment rate (source: INE)

Even with last night's downgrade of Spanish government debt to BBB+, given these unemployment figures it is hard to see how these bonds could still be classified "investment grade".

A quote from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (via e-mail): - ... you may be interested to know that Spain's unemployment would be about 4p to 5pc higher under the 1990s method of counting. There was a Bank of Spain study on this.

So it would now be nearing 30pc.
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