Spain unemployment falls for second straight month

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Spain is hailing the fall in unemployment as a sign that its measures to tackle the economic crisis were having effect.

Madrid – Spanish unemployment fell in June for the second consecutive month, the government said Thursday, hailing it as a sign that its measures to tackle the economic crisis were having effect.

The employment ministry said the number of job seekers was down 1.5 percent, or 55,250, in June from the previous month at 3.565 million. In May, unemployment was down 0.68 percent from April.

"It is a very good figure, in two months we have 80,000 less unemployed," Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told Spanish National Radio.

"We must be prudent, but that means that the measures taken by the government are taking effect.

"There is some indication that the economic situation in the second quarter is better than the first," he said.

Spain's 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.

The government last month more than doubled its estimate of contraction in the economy this year to 3.6 percent from 1.6 percent forecast previously.

The crisis sent the unemployment rate soaring to 18.1 percent in April, more than double the average for the European Union.

The government had predicted the rate will remain high, closing the year at 17.9 percent and rising to 18.9 percent in 2010.

Zapatero responded to the economic slowdown late last year with a EUR 10 billion (USD 13 billion) infrastructure spending plan that aims to create over 300,000 jobs, mainly through 31,000 public works projects across the country.

AFP / Expatica

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