Number of Spanish unemployed drops in November
Spain's jobless queue shrank in November, ending three months of increases, as the economy slowly recovered after emerging in mid-2013 from a two-year recession, the government said Tuesday.
The number of people in Spain registered as unemployed fell by 14,688 in November from the previous month to hit 4,512,116, the employment ministry said.
It is the biggest drop in registered unemployment posted during the month of November since the current statistical series began in 1996, it added.
On a yearly basis, the number of unemployed, as measured by those signing on at government offices for benefits, was down by 296,792 or 6.17 percent compared with November 2013.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Monday during a visit to Paris that he was confident the country's unemployment rate would continue its downward trend for the last two months of the year "and with more force if possible throughout 2015."
He credits the drop in unemployment on his conservative government's labour market reforms that make it easier for companies suffering a downturn to fire workers and reduce severance pay.
Unions oppose the changes, saying they undermine workers' rights and increase joblessness.
The registered unemployed list is a different measure from the benchmark quarterly unemployment rate published by the national statistics institute.
The institute recorded 5.43 million unemployed in Spain at the end of September, yielding an unemployment rate of 23.67 percent.
That was lower than the previous quarter but still one of the highest rates in the developed world, second only to Greece in the eurozone.
The high figure reflected the lingering impact of the busting of a construction bubble in 2008, which sparked five years of stop-start recession in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy.
Spain emerged timidly from recession in mid-2013 and in the second quarter of this year posted its strongest quarterly growth since 2007, expanding by 0.6 percent.
The economy grew by 1.6 percent over the past 12 months, up from the 1.3 percent year-on-year increase registered in the second quarter.
The government predicts the economy will expand by 1.3 percent in 2014 and by 2.0 percent in 2015.
It sees Spain's unemployment rate easing to 24.2 percent by the end of this year and drop to 22.2 percent at the end of 2015.
© 2014 AFP