Spain’s unemployment queues were beginning to swell again in September as the summer tourism jobs boom ended. Latest figures show a six-month run of shrinking unemployment lines has broken, but a glimmer of hope remains.
The official number of Spaniards registered as unemployed in September rose by about 25,000 from the previous month of August to reach 4.72 million people, according to latest figures released by the Labor Ministry on Wednesday.
As the unemployment rate edged up to 26.2 percent at the end of the second quarter, six consecutive months of declining unemployment came to an end.
The September unemployment figure did show, however,124,000 fewer people on the dole than in the same month a year ago. In addition, when adjusted for seasonal variations, the total number of people claiming unemployment also declined, at least statistically.
Spainish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy described the September figure as the best jobless data for the month in many years, and the country's secretary for employment, Engracia Hidalgo, attributed this to government policies facilitating layoffs and changing work conditions.
"We are convinced that the adopted reforms are the way to recovery and as such the necessary means for our country to recover the path of growth and sustained creation of stable, quality employment," she said in a statement.
Spain has been in recession for most of the past five years since its real estate sector collapsed in 2008, initiating a severe economic crisis. As a result, unemployment has surged to the second-highest in the EU after debt-laden Greece.
In 2013, gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to shrink by a further 1.3 percent before regaining growth of a projected 0.7 percent in 2014. Unemployment, however, is forecast to remain high with a rate of 26.6 percent this year and 25.9 percent in 2014.
uhe/mkg (dpa, AP, AFP)