Spain's jobless figure rose by more than 282,000 in April, largely due to the collapse of tourism during the coronavirus lockdown, labour ministry figures showed on Tuesday.

The numbers followed a "historic" increase in March when the government counted more than 300,000 new job seekers.

The total number of unemployed in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy has now reached 3.8 million, the ministry said.

At the end of March, the National Statistics Institute (INE), which calculates figures in a different way, gave Spain's jobless figure as 3.31 million

Spain imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 14 which has largely paralysed its economy, sending the number of job seekers spiralling.

Ministry figures show the number of state handouts rose to "record levels" with nearly 5.2 million claimants in what was an increase of nearly 137 percent.

A collapse in tourism has sparked a big rise in jobless figures
A collapse in tourism has sparked a big rise in jobless figures AFP / Pau Barrena

That number includes those who have been furloughed.

The blow was particularly felt in the services sector and among workers with temporary contracts as a result of the devastating loss of visitors over the Easter period, when the tourism industry usually moves into high gear.

During April, the services sector in which tourism plays a vital role, registered 219,128 job losses.

Spain is the second-most popular tourist destination in the world after France.

The employment numbers began climbing after the lockdown was imposed to slow the spread of a virus which has now claimed more than 25,000 lives, making Spain one of the worst-hit countries in the world.

In the first quarter, Spain's unemployment rate jumped to 14.4 percent, figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE) showed last week.