Madrid: Spain's unemployment rate hit 26.02 percent in 2012, with more than 5.9 million people jobless, the Spanish National Statistics Institute, or INE, said Thursday.
A total of 187,300 people were added to jobless rolls in the fourth quarter of last year, the INE said in its Labour Force Survey.
This is the first time that Spain's unemployment rate has exceeded 26 percent, and the country is close to having 6 million people out of work.
Employment fell by 363,300 in the fourth quarter of 2012 alone, the INE said.
The unemployment rate for foreign-born workers hit 36.53 percent, with more than 1.2 million people in this segment of the labour force out of work.
More than 2.7 million people in Spain's labour force have been out of work for over a year, the INE said.
The service sector lost the most jobs in 2012, followed by construction, manufacturing and agriculture.
Spain has been mired in a deep recession since 2008 due to the financial crisis caused by the bursting of the real estate bubble.