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Spain: Unemployment falls slightly

06 May 2013

The number of registered jobless fell by 0.91% or 46,050 people from March to 4.99 million, the Labour Ministry in Madrid said today. This is only slightly less than the 50,000 anticipated by Asempleo, the Spanish of temporary work agencies employers association. However, those gains were mainly down to restaurants and hotels gearing up for the holiday season, and in seasonally adjusted terms the number rose by 17,663 from March.

April's figures show the biggest falls in registered unemployed were in the services sector and in construction, from which millions have already lost their jobs after the bubble burst in 2008.

Spain's jobless rate -- the second highest in the EU behind Greece -- has risen every quarter since mid-2011 as the economy struggles to exit its second recession since the end of 2009.

According to Citi strategist Jose Luis Martinez quoted by Reuters “The figure shows the continued weakness of the labour market and of the Spanish economy…It's not compatible with the (government's forecast) of a stronger economy in the second quarter of the year."

Last month's quarterly National Statistics Institute survey -- which polls registered and non-registered unemployed -- showed that 27% or 6.2 million people were out of work in the first quarter.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expects this record unemployment rate to start falling next year as improving market confidence helps an economic recovery. Rajoy has implemented the toughest austerity measures in the nation’s democratic history since coming to power in 2011 and overhauled labour rules to enable companies to cut labour costs. The government expects the unemployment rate to remain above 24% until 2016. 

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