Spain Unemployment Hit 16.26% Amid COVID-19 Fallout


Spain’s unemployment rate jumped to 16.26 percent in the third quarter as the country’s tourism-dependent economy was ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, official data showed Tuesday.

The reading for the July-September period compares with a jobless rate of 15.3 percent for April to June in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy, national statistics office INE said in a statement.

There were an additional 355,000 people out of work in Spain in the third quarter, still an improvement over the second quarter when over a million jobs were lost, mainly in the tourism sector.

The number of total unemployed stood at 3.7 million at the end of September.

This figure does not include the roughly 650,000 people benefitting from a government coronavirus furlough scheme as of the end of September, according to government figures.

The government last month reached an agreement with union bosses and employers to extend its coronavirus furlough scheme until the end of January but the tourism sector is demanding that it run until the end of 2021.

Tourism bosses have also asked that the government drop the requirement for participating companies to freeze layoffs for six months after it ends.

Tourism is hugely important to the Spanish economy, accounting for some 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 13 percent of employment.

The government predicts the unemployment rate will hit 17.1 percent by the end of 2020.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) sees Spain’s GDP slumping by 12.8 percent this year, in what would make it the hardest-hit country among the world’s advanced economies.

Spain is currently battling a second wave of coronavirus that has so far claimed more than 35,000 lives and infected over one million people.


Brazil Jobless Rate Hits Record 13.8%

A man wearing a face mask on his chin plays the saxophone in exchange of money in a street of Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil, on September 25, 2020. – The Brazilian city of Manaus, which was devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, may have suffered so many infections that its population now benefits from “herd immunity,” according to a preliminary study.  (Photo by MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP)


Brazil’s unemployment rate hit a record 13.8 percent from May to July as Latin America’s biggest economy suffered the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to official figures released Wednesday.

The rate is the highest since the current tracking method was introduced in 2012, and two percentage points above same period last year.

The previous record — 13.7 percent — was registered in the first quarter of 2017.

The South American giant of 212 million people has been hit hard by the new coronavirus, with nearly 143,000 people killed, the second-highest death toll worldwide after the United States.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has attacked stay-at-home measures imposed by state and local authorities and insisted on getting the economy reopened.

But economists say the policy fight may only be adding to the economic damage. And health experts warn that many states are trying to exit lockdown too fast.

Brazil is facing a record recession this year. The central bank is currently predicting a contraction of 5.04 percent — though the outlook has been improving steadily since June.

There were 13.1 million people looking for work in July, IBGE said.

The number of people who dropped out of the work force — a sign of how many have given up looking for jobs because of a lack of opportunities — also hit a record, at 5.8 million, a 20-percent increase from the same period last year.

“Besides taking people’s jobs, the pandemic made it difficult to look for work because of stay-at-home measures, business closures and health issues,” said IBGE official Adriana Beringuy.

In all, Brazil lost 11.6 million jobs in a year, the institute said.


German Unemployment Stabilises In August

A picture taken on March 19, 2020 shows a view of closed restaurants, bars and locations for adult entertainment on the “Grosse Freiheit” street in the red light district of the northern German city of Hamburg on March 19, 2020. MORRIS MAC MATZEN / AFP


German unemployment held steady in August, official data showed Tuesday, as Europe’s largest economy adapted to life after lockdowns imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

The jobless rate ticked up slightly to 6.4 percent from 6.3 percent in July, the BA federal labour agency said, signalling a plateau after a marked rise in unemployment in the early period of the pandemic.

Before the coronavirus struck, unemployment had hovered at around five percent, record lows since reunification. In August 2019, unemployment was 5.1 percent.

The BA blamed the summer break for the rise in unemployment in August.

“Unemployment rose at the usual rate in August, meaning there was no additional coronavirus-related increase in unemployment from July. Nevertheless, the effects of the pandemic on the labour market are still very clearly visible,” said Detlef Scheele, chairman of the labour agency.

Unemployment may continue to rise as companies restructure and the post-corona economy takes shape. German carrier Lufthansa, Europe’s largest airline by passengers, said it may cut 22,000 jobs and tour operator giant TUI says it will lay off 8,000 workers.

The impact of the crisis on the job market has been cushioned by Germany’s shorter hours programme, known as Kurzarbeit, in which the government tops up workers’ wages when their working hours are cut.

After an initial surge to 10.6 million in March and April combined, the numbers of new applications for the scheme have come down significantly.

Around 5.4 million people were on Kurzarbeit in June, according to the BA, still considerably higher than at the height of the financial crash in 2009. There were 170,000 new sign-ups to the scheme in August, it added.


Chile Unemployment Rises By 5.6%, Hits New Record Of 13%

Truck drivers protest by cutting off highway 5 in Pillanlelbun, Temuco, Chile on August 27, 2020. 


Unemployment in Chile has reached a new record high of 13.1 percent, the national statistics institute said Friday.

Unemployment rose by 5.6 percentage points in the rolling May-July quarter compared to the same period in 2019.

The statistics institute said it was the highest figure since 2010 when the body changed its calculation method.

That means that more than a million people are out of work, leaving 8.1 million employed after the loss of 1.8 million jobs over the last year.

However, the unemployment figure doesn’t take into account the 760,000 people that took advantage of a government initiative launched in March to protect jobs affected by the coronavirus pandemic by allowing the temporary suspension of contracts and access to unemployment insurance.

The institute said that taking into consideration those unemployed, those on the government scheme, and those not looking for work but able to, then the number of people out of employment rises to 30 percent of the potential workforce.

“These are the most severe figures… that we’ve had in the history of our country,” said Labor Minister Maria Jose Zaldivar.

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The institute said that of those still employed, a third have reported a drop in their income.

“The numbers speak for themselves and show why this has to be the priority,” said Finance Minister Ignacio Briones, while asking Congress to approve laws that would reactivate the economy by creating jobs.

Chile is one of the worst-affected countries in Latin America by the coronavirus, with 400,000 cases and close to 15,000 deaths.

The Central Bank expects the economy to shrink by 7.5 percent in 2020.


South Africa’s Unemployment Rate Tops 30%

Commuters wearing masks as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus queue at the Bara taxi rank in Soweto, Johannesburg, on June 1, 2020. South Africa moved into level three of a five-tier lockdown on June 1, 2020, to continue efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Under level three, all but high-risk sectors of the economy will be allowed to reopen. Michele Spatari / AFP.


South Africa’s unemployment rate jumped rose one percentage point to 30.1 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the final three months of 2019, official data showed Tuesday.

The new data is a far cry from what analysts expect to be the ultimate fallout from the coronavirus which has infected more than 100,000 people in Africa’s most developed economy.

The number of unemployed came to 7.1 million, with the formal sector shedding the most jobs, StatsSA said.

“Most industries experienced job losses in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019,” the statistics agency said, adding the finance sector lost 50,000 jobs.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday warned of mass job losses and “tough times” ahead as the continent’s most industrialised country braces for the economic fallout from its strict anti-coronavirus measures.

Ramaphosa imposed a strict lockdown on March 27 to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 and prepare hospitals for an expected surge in cases.

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But the move has cost the economy dearly. South Africa was already in recession when the virus arrived.

The central bank now forecasts the economy will shrink seven percent in 2020 as the economy buckles under the coronavirus pandemic.

Since last month the government has started loosening the lockdown to enable business activity to resume gradually.

“For a country such as ours, which was already facing an unemployment crisis and weak economic growth, difficult decisions and difficult days lie ahead,” Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter.

Companies, including the public broadcaster SABC, last week announced plans to lay off staff.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned that the unemployment rate could rise as high as 50 percent due to the pandemic.


Rising Unemployment From COVID-19 Fight Threatens China’s Poverty Targets

Women wearing face masks wait on a street to enter a supermarket in Wuhan, China’s central Hubei province on April 3, 2020. – Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged last year, partly reopened on March 28 after more than two months of near total isolation for its population of 11 million. Hector RETAMAL / AFP.


Although China is claiming success in its battle against the coronavirus, millions have lost their jobs in the economic fallout, throwing into jeopardy an ambitious target to eradicate poverty this year.

Beijing has been working to fire up the economy again after bringing it to a near standstill to curb the spread of COVID-19, but many firms have had a bumpy restart and workers are bearing the brunt of the pain.

Despite being a country of skyscrapers and high-tech innovations, China still has millions of people on meagre incomes.

About 5.5 million rural Chinese live in poverty, defined by the government as surviving on less than 2,300 yuan ($326) a year.

A slowing economy puts pressure on a key Communist Party goal to become a “moderately prosperous society” by the end of 2020, an ambition in place long before the virus emerged.

It also threatens a long-held tacit agreement between people and party that freedoms can be sacrificed in return for economic progress, an understanding that largely forms the basis of the authoritarian government’s legitimacy in the absence of elections.

China has little in the way of social security benefits and workers who lose their jobs have an inadequate safety net, meaning mass unemployment often brings a fear of unrest.

Official statistics show jobless numbers have soared, with roughly five million more people out of work between December and February.

Data firm Caixin said its services purchasing managers’ index, a key indicator of activity in the services sector, showed companies cut staff at the quickest pace on record in March.

Hu Fangdi, 23, lost her job as a saleswoman at an airport retail store two weeks ago and has had no luck finding a new role.

“No one was buying things during the outbreak and the company laid us off,” she told AFP.

Lily Han, who lost her sales job at a tech firm last month, said she needs a new job within two months just to make ends meet.

The 24-year-old has applied for over 300 positions but has come up empty handed.

– ‘Constant anxiety’ –

With much of the rest of the world still locked in all-consuming battles against the virus, the pandemic is expected to heavily weigh on demand for Chinese goods.

Analysts at financial services firm Nomura said the nation could lose around 18 million jobs in the export sector — nearly a third of the industry’s workforce.

This growing unemployment will be a major blow to consumption — a key driver of China’s growth, said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics.

Workers and businesses are beginning to feel the squeeze as cash flow dries up.

One worker in construction management surnamed Zhao, 28, told AFP his employer stopped paying salaries in February.

“I have housing and credit loans to pay… My family is now covering my housing loan and I work part-time to cover my daily expenses,” he said.

“I feel constant anxiety.”

Some businesses still can’t reopen amid lingering lockdowns.

Eric Liu, owner of Maomaochong Bar and Pizza in one of Beijing’s ageing hutong neighbourhoods, says business is paltry as the narrow alleyways remain sealed off.

Relying on his home delivery customers, sales are barely 10 percent of pre-virus levels and Liu has cut salaries.

Some firms have taken dramatic measures to stay solvent, including paying just a minimal living allowance.

And Beijing authorities have allowed companies to waive some social security payments, including contributions to pension, unemployment and work injury funds — measures that could further hit vulnerable workers.

– Slipping into poverty –

Job losses also raise the likelihood of laid-off migrant workers returning to poorer rural areas and slipping into poverty.

Liu Sihua, 49, a domestic worker, has been stranded in her village in eastern Anhui province since mid-January with no income or unemployment benefits.

“My landlord in Beijing refuses to allow outsiders to return after the virus scare,” she said.

“The family I was working for… went back to the Netherlands, and now I don’t know when they will come back since China has temporarily banned foreigners from entering.”

To compensate, authorities are easing stringent regulations governing the lives of rural migrants working in urban areas, allowing them greater access to the property market, healthcare and education in some smaller cities.

“Poverty eradication is harder to achieve given the current situation, which could not possibly have been foreseen,” said Zhao Litao of Singapore’s East Asian Institute.

Other analysts warn not to place too much weight on achieving artificial targets.

Wiping out extreme poverty could prove a “narrow” concept that distorts the real economic picture, said Kuijs, as local governments pursue all means possible to be seen meeting targets, sometimes at considerable cost.


Pandemic Could Make Another 25 Million Jobless – UN


The COVID-19 pandemic will significantly increase global unemployment, leaving up to 25 million more people out of work, and will dramatically slash workers’ incomes, the United Nations said Wednesday.

In a fresh study, the International Labour Organization warned that the economic and labour crisis sparked by the spread of the new coronavirus, which has now killed more than 8,000 people worldwide, will have “far-reaching impacts on labour market outcomes”.

“This is no longer only a global health crisis, it is also a major labour market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people,” ILO chief Guy Ryder said in a statement.

The UN agency’s study suggested the world should prepare to see a “significant rise in unemployment and underemployment in the wake of the virus.”

Presenting different scenarios depending on how quickly and with what level of coordination governments react, it found that even in the best-case scenario, 5.3 million more people will be pushed into unemployment by the crisis.

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At the high-end meanwhile, 24.7 million more people will become jobless, on top of the 188 million registered as unemployed in 2019, the study found.

“By comparison, the 2008-9 global financial crisis increased global unemployment by 22 million,” the ILO said.

It warned that “underemployment is also expected to increase on a large scale, as the economic consequences of the virus outbreak translate into reductions in working hours and wages.”

– $3.4 trillion in lost income? –

Self-employment in developing countries, which often serves to cushion the impact of economic shifts, might not do so this time due to the severe restrictions being placed on the movement of people and goods.

Reductions in access to work will also mean “large income losses for workers,” ILO said.

“The study estimates these as being between $860 billion and $3.4 trillion by the end of 2020,” it said, warning that “this will translate into falls in consumption of goods and services, in turn affecting the prospects for businesses and economies.”

The number of people who live in poverty despite holding one or more jobs will also increase significantly, the study said, estimating that between 8.8 and 35 million more people will be added to the ranks of the working poor.

“The strain on incomes resulting from the decline in economic activity will devastate workers close to or below the poverty line,” it said.

The ILO called for urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures to protect workers in the workplace, stimulate the economy and employment and support jobs and income, including through social protections, paid leave and other subsidies.

The agency pointed out that some groups will be disproportionately impacted by the jobs crisis, including youth, older workers, women and migrants, in a way that could increase already soaring inequality.

“In 2008, the world presented a united front to address the consequences of the global financial crisis, and the worst was averted,” Ryder pointed out.

“We need that kind of leadership and resolve now.”


Unemployment: APC Has Overstretched The Limits Of Nigerians – PDP

Ex-Adamawa Deputy Governor Tahir Dumps PDP For APC


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the rate of unemployment in the country, saying the All Progressives Congress (APC) has overstretched the limits of Nigerians.

It also accused the ruling party of trivialising and politicising the frightening level under it and warned the APC to get ready to face the consequences.

The main opposition party made the claims in a statement on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.

“The PDP holds that for attempting to distort and muffle facts on unemployment, which are already in the public domain, the APC has confirmed that it remains an automated lying machine, which has never been interested in the welfare of Nigerians,” the PDP alleged in the statement.

It added, “It is imperative to also state that with its latest deportment, the APC has completed the trappings of a dying party and leaves no one in doubt that it has always been a power-grabbing special purpose vehicle, which has now come to the end of its journey.”


A Serious National Problem

The opposition party quoted the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, as saying in a publication that unemployment rate was at a frightening 23.1 per cent while raising alarm that the rate would likely hit 33.5 per cent in the new year.

It insisted that the number of unemployed persons and job losses across the formal and informal sectors had surge under the present administration.

The PDP added that Ngige, while declaring open a two-day workshop on unemployment, reportedly described the situation as scary.

“The APC also chose not to remember that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in an earlier report, stated that 16 million Nigerians (which has now risen to 18 million) were unemployed, 18 million more were underemployed while another 27.44 million, reportedly refused to work in 2016 for various reasons not unrelated to frustration in the polity under the APC administration.

“It is completely unpardonable that rather than accepting the truth and seeking for a solution to the looming unemployment Armageddon, the APC seeks to trivialise and politicise a serious national problem,” the PDP claimed.

It also accused the ruling party of justifying its wrongdoings and engaging in “under-the-table system of selective employment of a few”.

Among other allegations, the PDP asked the APC to “take responsibility for the mortgaging of our nation with the $83 billion debt accumulated by its administration”.

Senate Asks FG, States, LGs To Declare Emergency On Unemployment

A file photo of lawmakers in the Senate Chamber.



Members of the Senate on Wednesday considered a motion on the ‘escalating rate’ of unemployment in the country.

The motion was sponsored during plenary by the immediate past Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

In their resolution, the lawmakers proferred solutions to the executive arm of the government for adoption and implementation.

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One of these is for the Federal, State and Local Governments to declare emergency on the provision of employment across the country.

The senators also called on the Federal Ministry of National Planning to put the necessary mechanism and programmes in place to achieve this.

They proposed the revitalisation of existing industries and urged the executive arm to initiate sustainable employment fund for the payment of stipends to unemployed Nigerians until such persons secure employment.


A Time Bomb

Earlier, Senator Ekweremadu brought the motion to the floor through reliance on Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules.

He decried that high institutions of learning in the country produce a large number of graduates yearly without jobs, describing such a situation as a “time bomb waiting to explode”.

Citing a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2019, Senator Ekweremadu stated that Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 23.1 per cent of the workforce in the third quarter of the year.

He also raised an alarm that the nation’s unemployment rate would hit 33.5 per cent by 2020 while quoting the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige.

“Any nation with such a number of unemployed but employable youths is only sitting on a keg of gun powder.

“The most pressing demand on the hand of every legislator and public officer is the rising number of curriculum vitae and application for employment from constituent Nigerians,” the lawmaker said.

He added, “A situation where every school graduate has to queue up for job only in government offices is an indication of the breakdown of private sector which is the major driver of world economies.”

Senator Ekweremadu stressed that unemployed Nigerian youths with potential talents “lying idle and wasting away are usually misdirected toward many unprofitable and harmful ventures and lifestyles”.

According to him, the most active percentage of Nigeria’s population has been forced to keep away from participating in the economic development of their fatherland and contributing toward the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by unemployment.

The lawmaker also attributed the high level of crime in any society to the high rate of unemployment.

He said, “Unemployment is one of the major causes of upsurge in rural-urban migration which put pressure on facilities at the urban centres.

“Unemployment is one of the major reasons why insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, Cybercrimes and other vices are on the increase.”

In his contribution, Senator Istifanus Gyang described unemployment as a monster that could consume the nation if its people were not careful.

Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, on his part, decried the inability of the private sector to address the escalating rate of unemployment in the country.

The government on the other hand, according to him, lacks the capacity to create jobs as doing so would create an expansion in its fiscal responsibility.

Senate Vows To Tackle Unemployment, Poverty, Other Challenges

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, speaks during plenary in the Senate Chamber in Abuja on September 27, 2019.



The Senate has resolved to tackle youth unemployment, poverty, and reform of the educational sector, among other challenges facing the country.

The lawmakers made the resolution on Thursday in the Red Chamber following the adoption of the Legislative Agenda for the Ninth Senate.

They vowed to channel their energy towards strengthening Basic and Technical Education by enhancing oversight on the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Act.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, pledged that the upper chamber of the National Assembly would work to reduce the number of out-of-school children across the country.

“Today, the education sector suffers a lot,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Assistant on Press, Ezrel Tabiowo.

The Senate President added, “The 11 million or 12 million children out of school – we owe them that responsibility to do something about them, and that is taking us back to the implementation of the Basic Education Act.

“How do we ensure that we reduce and eliminate the number of out-of-school children on our street? Whatever name we have to give that programme, we have to do something and government has to take responsibility.”

Senate President Lawan also noted that the government, at the federal and state levels, would have to create some funds to employ and train more teachers.

He gave assurance that the lawmakers, on their part, would work assiduously to implement its legislative agenda.

The Senate President said, “This legislative agenda is particularly ours. We represent the people, we know their feelings, and we imagine that the legislative perspectives we have here may be slightly different from the executive perspective.

“But at the same time, we are going to serve the same people, and that is where the need for us to come together and to reconcile our thinking on taking Nigeria to the next level will be.”

Unemployment In France Hits New Low


France’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in the second quarter to 8.5 per cent, its lowest level in a decade, the national statistics agency Insee said Wednesday, confirming a moderate downward trend begun in mid-2015.

On the French mainland, the rate fell 0.2 points compared with the first quarter to 8.2 per cent, or 2.4 million jobless.

The level stood at 8.5 per cent when French overseas territories were included, also down 0.2 points over the first three months of 2019 to the lowest level since 2009.

The fall in the number of jobless mirrors the situation in the wider eurozone, where unemployment fell to an 11-year low of 7.5 percent of May.

France, however, has long been one of the poorer performers among major EU economies.

Pro-business President Emmanuel Macron, like his socialist predecessor Francois Hollande, has made bringing down the country’s stubbornly high unemployment rate his top priority.

He has loosened the country’s labour laws, cut corporate taxes and pushed through a law requiring people to work for longer before claiming unemployment benefits in order to encourage hiring.


Technical And Vocational Education, ‘Remedy’ To Unemployment – Ganduje


Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, believes acquiring entrepreneurship skills will go a long way to address unemployment in the country.

He made the remark at the 17th Combined Convocation ceremony of the Federal Polytechnic Ado-Ekiti held on Saturday in Ekiti State.

Governor Ganduje spoke shortly after he was honoured at the event with an Award of Fellowship of the institution.

“With rising trends in unemployment predicaments in our society for both skilled and unskilled individuals, technical and vocational education provides the necessary remedy to this disturbing scenario of unemployability of graduates of tertiary institutions,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar.

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The governor, therefore, urged polytechnics across the country to continue providing the leading steps towards entrepreneurship education for self-employment and job creation.

He highlighted some of the successes recorded by his administration in primary and post-primary education.

“For example, in our eight tertiary institutions of learning, we have over 279 programmes that are accredited by agencies responsible for such exercise.

“For instance, Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, has 27 programmes; Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano has 32 programmes and Kano Polytechnic has 72 programmes,” Governor Ganduje added.

Others according to him are Audu Bako College of Agriculture, Dambatta – 27; Kano State College of Education and Preliminary Studies – 15 programmes; College of Arts and Remedial Studies, Tudun Wada has – 18; Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies – 10 programmes; and Sa’Adatu Rimi College of Education, Kumbotso – 78, all accredited programmes.

In their remarks, the Chairman of the Governing Council and the Rector of the polytechnic, Austin Edeze and Dr Dayo Oladebeye, commended the governor for his commitment to the development of education in Kano.

They recalled the Governor Ganduje was a one-time Chairman of the institution’s Governing Council, saying the polytechnic witnessed tremendous academic excellence during his time.

Ganduje was accompanied by the Rector of Kano State Polytechnic, Professor Mukhtar Kurawa; and the Vice-Chancellor of the Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Professor Shehu Musa.

Others are the Provost of Kano College of Education and Preliminary Studies, Dr Sunusi Ahmad, and the Provost of Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education, Kumbotso, Dr Yahaya Isah Bunkure.