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The latest unemployment figures intended for publication on Friday this week by the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE) accidentally appeared on INE's website on Monday for several minutes. Spanish daily ABC published the figures immediately. INE has confirmed the error but has refused to confirm the data.
The data shows that unemployment during the first three months of 2010 has climbed by 286,200 individuals to reach 4.61 million or 20.05% of the workforce.
In the fourth quarter of 2009 there were 4.33 million people out of work, which accounted for 18.83% of the workforce.
Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the 16-nations Eurozone and the second highest unemployment rate in the European Union, surpassed only by Latvia.
The Spanish economy has proved extremely vulnerable to the global credit crunch because growth has relied heavily on credit-fuelled domestic demand and a property boom boosted by easy access to loans that has collapsed.
Natixis said further "this was pure madness", adding that there are 1.2 million unsold housing units currently on the market in Spain.