The number of unemployed has risen once again in February, a new 154,058 people have lost their job bringing the total unemployed to nearly 3.5 million.

The sectors most affected are agriculture, services and construction. Although the increase was less than in January, when it rose by 198,838 people, the total number of unemployed is now at 3,481,859, the worst figure since 1996. If we look back 12 months, the number of unemployed has risen by 50.38 per cent or a total of 1,166,528 since February 2008.

Spain has by far the highest unemployment rate in the EU. The latest quarterly figure, released at the end of 2008, was 13.9%.

The European Commission has forecast that the rate will continue to increase in Spain to 16.1% in 2010 and 18.7% the following year.