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Jobs

Spain February jobless figure drops for first time since 2007

Madrid has said February unemployment has dropped for the first time since the start of the global financial crisis. It said reforms were slowly making an impact on the labor market, but the road ahead was still bumpy.

The Spanish Labor Ministry reported Tuesday the number of jobless people in Spain dipped to 4.8 million people in February, marking the first drop in unemployment since 2007 when the global financial crisis started sending shockwaves through national economies around the world.

The February jobless total decreased by only 2,000 people month-on-month.

"Spain is on the right path, with the reforms of the past few years now yielding first positive results," Labor Minster Fatima Banez said in a statement in Madrid.

Slow recovery

Hope for the eurozone

But according to the national statistics agency, INE, unemployment still stood at a record-high 26 percent, a rate more than twice as high as the eurozone average.

The EU Commission said Spain was far from being out of the woods, with the country's jobless rate expected to come in at 25.7 percent this year and 24.6 percent in 2015.

The eurozone's fourth-largest economy is seen to be on track for its first growth figures in 2014 after two years of recession. The EU executive predicted the Spanish economy would expand by 1 percent this year, followed by 1.7-percent growth in 2015.

hg/hc (dpa, Reuters)

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