Two euro zone countries release contrasting jobs figures - unemployment in Spain increases for a fifth month while in Germany a record number of people are in employment. Sonia Legg reports.
REPORTER: The queues at Madrid's job centre are constant. Around one in five people are out of work in Spain and the government's unemployment figures are up for the fifth month in a row. 4.42 million people are currently looking for work - that's an increase of nearly eight percent on last December. Economy Minister Luis de Guindos says the country's budget deficit looks set to be around eight per cent too - two percent higher than previously forecast.
SPANISH ECONOMY MINISTER, LUIS DE GUINDOS: "The figures are bad, very negative, they suggest unemployment is our biggest social problem - it is clearly the main reason the economy is so vulnerable."
REPORTER: Spain's new government is trying to tackle the problem with a new package of economic reforms - it needs to save 35 billion euros and virtually halve the deficit. But more than a third of Spaniards believe things will get worse in 2012.
ALVARO FERNANDEZ, JOBLESS SPANIARD: "At the moment it seems the prime minister is contradicting himself - he said he wouldn't increase taxes but he has. Then again who knows what he has found so, we have to give him time."
OSCAR, EMPLOYED MAN WAITING FOR UNEMPLOYED FRIENDS: "I don't think the cuts will generate work and they are hitting those of us who do work by raising taxes so our earnings go down and entrepreneurs are less able to generate work."
REPORTER: That's clearly not the case in Germany. New figures show a record 41.4 million people are in work - topping the 41 million figure for the first time. The country's Labour Minister says it's a result of strong economic growth.
GERMAN LABOUR MINISTER URSULA VON DER LEYEN: "The employment market is still very stable. 2011 was a very good year for the German employment market. And we can see that continuing. Looking at the whole of last year we can say that the employment figures have been at the highest level since unification."
REPORTER: But it hasn't been all good news this year for Germany. On Monday figures showed manufacturing shrank for a third month in row in December. Some economists are now predicting Europe's biggest economy will contract, possibly for two consecutive quarters. Sonia Legg, Reuters.