Statistics: Spain's jobless surge eases

25th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

The surge in unemployment in recession-hit Spain eased in July

Madrid - The surge in unemployment in recession-hit Spain eased in July, official statistics showed on Friday, but the rate was still almost twice the eurozone average at nearly 18 percent.

The national statistics institute Ine, which has a different calculation method from the government, said unemployment rose to 4.1 million in July, a record since 1976.

This amounted to a jobless rate of 17.92 percent, up from 17.36 percent in the first quarter.

The rate of increase in Ine's estimate slowed from previous months, however, having surged from just under 14 percent to more than 17 percent from December to March.

The government's latest figures show unemployment falling in May and June and it says the worst of the crisis is past.

"There is an intense slowdown in the destruction of jobs," said Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

But government economy minister, Jose Manuel Campa, said that Friday's figures "do not allow us to say that there is job creation, which would be desirable for the trend to change."

Spain entered recession in late 2008. Its economy, Europe's fifth largest, has been hit particularly hard by the world economic crisis after a decade-long boom driven by the construction industry came to an end.

Unemployment among building workers declined by 41,900 in the second quarter but grew in some other key sectors, according to Ine.

"We think the unemployment rate will continue to climb in coming quarters until the end of next year, albeit at a slower pace relative to the recent past," Citigroup economist Giada Giani said in a note.

AFP / Expatica

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