Spain unemployment: Your stories

A government job centre in Madrid

In Spain there are now over five million people unemployed, according to the National Statistics Institute.

Spain already has the highest jobless rate in the 17-nation eurozone and is expected to slide back into recession - the new figures show more than half of all 16 to 24-year-olds are jobless.

BBC News website readers in Spain share their experiences of being unemployed and the fear of losing their livelihoods in the current economic climate.

Marisol, Malaga

My husband and I have a small business in private security, but we are about to lose our jobs.

There is political instability here and no chance of help from the state - it's a mess. There is no new enterprise - the future is not bright and is void of possibilities.

Around nine years ago we started our own business, just after the boom in Spain when there were good prospects that we thought would last.

But then the socialist government came in and brought a lot of bureaucracy.

Also, we are in our 50s - the age of the damned here. When you turn 50 no-one seems to want you.

There are millions without hope - some people I know have been without work for two years. The queues at unemployment offices remind me of old Romania.

We don't know what to do - we may have to shut down. We've been thinking of emigrating, perhaps try California.

But with the current state of the economy, if you can't even sell a house or only at a loss, there's no hope.

I went to the bank recently and they said it could take about four or five years to sell a house.

Youth unemployment is particularly high. I have a 16-year-old daughter and I'm worried about her future.

Fran Lopez, Madrid

Image caption There have been protests across Spain against unemployment and austerity measures

The situation in Spain is dire! I am an engineer working for a government-owned company and we have seen many reliable and valued veterans removed from posts that they have held for 15 years or more.

My wife works for a credit card company but she will be laid off at the end of February. This is a very common occurrence in Spain.

There is a high cost of living but wages have decreased. It's very hard to find a job that is well paid.

People are leaving my workplace not just because of the lack of work. There is no money to pay employees to do the work.

I know people in the construction field who have been out of work for three or four years.

The trick is to generate business so that the market grows.

In Spain, people get help from families and do odd jobs. But because these jobs are cash in hand, the problem for the state is that people pay no tax.

House prices have gone up and mortgages are sky high - about the same as in London but income is nowhere near as good here.

There has been radical change. As soon as our new prime minister came in there were major cuts.

I'm considering leaving the country. I've actively looked for jobs outside Spain.

I have 20 years' experience, but young people have no hope of finding a job. When things are good, young Spaniards leave the country anyway to improve their English.

But now Spain faces a real problem that there will be no young talent in the country in the near future.

Anonymous, Andalucia

This country is a mess. Working self-employed legally is expensive and brings little reward as there is no dole but high taxation, so the black market is thriving.

Companies are afraid of giving staff contracts because of the costs and liabilities.

The bureaucracy, costs and licensing involved in setting up a new venture is mind blowing - not to mention you pay VAT and income tax from the first penny - to the extent that it's just not worth it.

Businesses are closing right left and centre. There is no investment in people or new ventures.

In Andalucia, we rely on tourism, but tour companies have been introducing all-inclusive holidays that affect local businesses. Everyone is worried but the hope is that it will become cheaper for tourists to come here and spend their money.

I am thankfully in work but most of my friends are unemployed.

Most of them have decided to have children - not because they get any child benefit, but because they put it on hold for a career and now that is gone.

I am putting off motherhood because I am self-employed - but working for a big company who refuses to give contracts. That means I'll get no maternity benefits and if I do take any time off, they will employ someone else and I will have no job to go back to.

On the plus side, the huge sense of family and community is what is keeping this place going.

There has to be a future - I'm staying positive because I think we have to.

Interviews by Andrée Massiah

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