Monday, May 7, 2012

Spain's poorest region suffers 32% unemployment

Extremadura is often cited by Spaniards as an area that lives off taxes provided by wealthier and harder-working areas

Bordering on Portugal, the sprawling but thinly populated region of Extremadura has long been Spain's poorest, with per-capita GDP at just over two-thirds the national average.

From the foothills of the Gredos mountains, where Jaraíz de la Vera lies, to the harsher landscapes of the south, this has traditionally been an area of landowners and poor agricultural labourers. At 32%, its unemployment is rivalled only by the Canary Islands and southern Andalucia.

Just over a million Spaniards – one in 40 – live here in the two sleepy frontier provinces of Badajoz and Caceres. It is also home to the much prized, acorn-fed black Iberian pig, whose fatty, cured ham – jamón ibérico – sells at up to €250 a kilo.

The gentle dehesa countryside of sometimes scrublike grazing land, dotted with ancient cork and holm oak trees, provides a home where the pigs can scoff their acorns in liberty. Read More