The number of jobless in Spain rose again in January as employers shed workers hired for the Christmas season. However, the rate of increase has slowed, suggesting Spain’s severe jobs crisis may soon touch bottom.
The number of Spaniards registered as unemployed increased by about 113,000 month-on-month in January as temporary job contracts created over Christmas expired, the Labor Ministry announced on Tuesday.
The rise was the first since October 2013 and the smallest gain for the month of January since 2007, the ministry announced. As more than 4.8 million Spaniards are officially registered as jobless, the figure is down by 166,343 people compared with January 2013. In seasonally adjusted terms, the figure fell by 3,907 people when compared with December.
Noting that unemployment was significantly better than the average of previous years, Employment Secretary Engracia Hidalgo said the trend towards a more stable labor market was continuing.
Unemployment in Spain has soared higher than in any other eurozone country except debt-laden Greece. The job scarcity begun after the collapse of Spain's property market in 2008, driving the country into the longest recession in its history. Europe's fourth largest economy, however, emerged from the recession last summer and even posted growth of 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.
In January, Spain's battered construction sector even added more than 3,000 jobs, adding to signs that the sector might expect a turnaround. However, more than 100,000 people were laid off from the services sector and agriculture and industry shed 8,000 and 3,500 workers, respectively.
uhe/mkg (Reuters, AFP, dpa)