The latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics show that Spain's unemployment figure topped the five million mark at the end of 2011
Official figures released yesterday showed that 5,273,600 people were out of work at the end of December last year, up from 4.9 million in the third quarter.
The unemployment rate rose from 21.5% in the third quarter to 22.85% - the highest rate in nearly 17 years.
Over half of all 16-24 year-olds (51.4%) are now out of work, compared with 45.8% in the previous quarter.
Spain already has the highest jobless rate in the 17-nation eurozone and is expected to slide back into recession.
Spain's new ruling Popular Party conservative government has pledged labour reforms to try to halt further unemployment.
On Thursday, public service employees staged a series of demonstrations across Spain to protest against unemployment and increasing austerity measures.