Spain's jobless claims rose by 39,000 in March, their eighth straight monthly increase, to more than 4.75 million; number of people filing for benefits is up nearly 10% from a year ago

MADRID , April 3, 2012 () – The number of people filing for unemployment benefits in Spain rose by nearly 39,000 last month to a little over 4.75 million.

March's increase, reported by the Labor Ministry Tuesday, was the eighth straight monthly increase. The total filing for benefits is up nearly 10 percent on a year ago.

The overall unemployment rate is released separately and quarterly. It stood at 22.9 percent as of the end of last year, with nearly 5.3 million jobless. This is higher than the benefits number because some unemployed people's unemployment aid has run out.

Spain's economy is shrinking and the government is forecasting a 1.7 percent contraction this year.

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