Despite unemployment rising at a slower pace in April, some 3.8 million people were left without jobs, and the number depending on benefits hit a record 5.2 million, Spain’s Labor Ministry has revealed.

Last month, the number of Spaniards who registered as jobless rose by nearly eight percent, meaning that 282,891 people were rendered out of work as the country imposed strict restrictions to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. The figures published by the ministry on Tuesday are lower than the ones seen in March, when unemployment rose by over nine percent.

Those working in food and beverage services have felt most of the pain of the coronavirus-induced crisis, with over 720,000 losing their jobs, while workers in the retail and wholesale trade industries were also hit hard, along with accommodation services.

April’s filings have pushed unemployment to its highest figure in nearly four years, according to AP. At the same time, the country’s Minister of Labor Yolanda Diaz said the benefits paid by the government to nearly 5.2 million people amounted to a “historical record.”

Last week, Spain’s economy minister said that the nation’s economy is set to fall even deeper than it did amid the Great Recession of 2008-2013, partly confirming predictions made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The ministry expects that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will contract by 9.2 percent this year. According to the worst-case scenario released earlier by Spain’s central bank, the country’s economy may dive by 12.4 percent in 2020 if the Covid-19 lockdown lasts up to 12 weeks.

Spain, the worst affected country in Europe by number of coronavirus infections, started easing restrictions after nearly two months of lockdown on Sunday. Some small businesses, including shops and salons, started reopening on Monday, while still observing strict disease control protocols.

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