Unemployment in Spain has risen for the second month in a row (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). According to data released today by the Ministry of Employment and Immigration, even though the summer period of temporary, seasonal jobs has passed, the number of people looking for work here is continuing to stay high. There were 95,817 additional people out of work in September, a rise of 2.32 percent compared to August; the overall total of unemployed people in Spain is now 4,226,774. In the past year, the number has risen by 208,981 people, which represents an increase of 5.2 percent. Last month, service sectors were particularly affected by people losing their jobs, with around 75,000 from that area being made redundant, 80 percent of the total. In Catalunya, once more there are now over 600,000 people looking for work (article in Catalan, El Punt-Avui).
The mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, and the Generalitat's interior minister, Felip Puig, yesterday gave a positive report regarding the presence of police on Barcelona metro as a way of dealing with the high level of pickpocketing there (read article in Castilian here, El Periódico). It was the first time that Guardia Urbana officers have been deployed on the metro, where they have been assisting the Catalan police (Mossos d'Esquadra) in their fight against gangs of thieves who operate there. Trias was very satisfied with the results of the move, thanks to the positive statistics that it's given. Between July 22nd—the day the operation began—and September 30th, the number of crimes reported from the metro fell by 25 percent compared to the same period in 2010. Last year there were 6,346 criminal acts recorded on the metro during this time (an average of 91 a day), whereas this year, it had fallen to 4,743 (67 a day); there were 267 arrests. Police representatives also pointed out that the increase in officers on the metro had not caused a knock-on rise in crime in other parts of the city. They said that there had been a general fall in crime in Barcelona although they didn't give any specific statistics to support this.
Chemists have warned that they will stop issuing free prescriptions unless the Generalitat pays them what is owed from previous Social Security prescriptions dispensed, and will only serve those customers who can pay for their medication at the time of receiving them (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). There is currently a two-month delay in the payment of chemists to cover the free prescriptions they have issued; and on Wednesday, they are due to receive the money for the prescriptions dispensed in August, but they have not had any guarantee that this payment will be made. This situation was explained by Elena Carazo, a chemist and spokesperson for around 200 colleagues who yesterday went to the Col·legi de Farmacèutics de Barcelona to protest about the lack of payments; this was the first protest carried out by pharmacists, following an agreement to demonstrate was reached last Friday. If no agreement can be reached with the Generalitat, and bank credit is not forthcoming, chemists fear they will be obliged to stop dispensing Social Security medication. "It's the last thing that we want to do because there are many people who can't afford to pay for their medicine, but we, as chemists, don't have the money to pay for the neighbourhood's medication," said Carazo. As such, "we're looking for an agreement so that we don't have to take this drastic measure." Carazo made it clear that chemists wouldn't be able to make it to the end of the month without the money they're owed.