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Update on Spanish unemployment shows regional discrepancies

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Eloy Alonso/Reuters

(Read caption) A "Kiliki" hits a child with a sponge during the San Fermin festival of "Comparsa de gigantes y cabezudos" (Parade of the giants and the big heads) in Pamplona on July 9, 2012. According to first quarter numbers, the rate of unemployment in Spain's northern and southern regions differs by several percentage points.

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In the last post, I hinted at the discrepancy between the regional numbers for Spain that was posted there and the overall Spanish number. The overall Spanish number referred to the first quarter this year and the regional to last year averages, which given the rise in unemployment since means that the regional numbers underestimate current unemployment.

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No monthly regional numbers are, as far as I know, available, but the first quarter numbers shows that the region in Spain with the lowest unemployment rate, Pais Vasco in northern Spain, saw its unemployment rate rise 1½ percentage points to 13.5% while the region in Spain with the highest unemployment rate, Andalucia in southern Spain, saw its unemployment rate rise nearly 3 percentage points to 33.2%. The gap between different Spanish regions is thus almost as large in percentage points as the gap between Spain and Austria.

The reason why Andalucia, where Sevilla and Malaga and the rest of the "sun coast" ("Costa del sol" as they say in Spanish) is located, has been hit particularly hard, by the way, is that it was the part of Spain that had the most outrageous housing bubble in all of Spain.