Spain's unemployment rate rose to a record of 27.2 percent in the first quarter of this year with 6.2 million people out of work, according to data released by the National Statistics Institute on Thursday (April 25).

Unemployment has now been rising for seven consecutive quarters and these latest numbers will further fuel a growing debate on whether to ease the austerity measures which have dominated Europe's response to the debt crisis.

There are now just fewer than 2 million households in Spain where all the family members are out of work.

The collapse of a property boom driven by cheap credit has seen millions in the construction sector laid off since 2009 and the private service sector, worth almost half gross domestic product, has followed its path as Spaniards tightened their purse strings and investment plummeted.

The malaise has been made worse by billions of euros in state spending cuts and tax hikes to reduce one of the euro zone's highest deficits and convince nervous markets Spain can control its finances.

In the context of rising unemployment and tough austerity measures, public protests have become commonplace across the country and thousands of police have been drafted in to Madrid to handle a march on Parliament on Thursday.

The data from the National Statistics Institute includes registered and unregistered unemployed.

Presented by Adam Justice