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Unemployment

Spanish unemployment crisis eases after biggest drop in over a decade

In December, the jobless figure in Spain posted its biggest monthly drop in 14 years, bolstering an upward trend in the country’s jobs market. But hopes for an end to the unemployment crisis are still premature.

In December, the number of people out of work in Spain fell by 107,500 compared with the previous month of November, according to latest data released by the Labor Ministry in Madrid on Friday.

In comparison with the same month in 2012, the figure was even down by 147,300 people. The decline marked the biggest annual drop in unemployment since 1999, the data showed.

However, the number of people seeking jobs in the eurozone's fourth largest economy remained extraordinarily high at 4.7 million, an unemployment rate of 26 percent.

Nevertheless, Deputy Labor Minister Engracia Hidalgo pointed to positive trends in the country's battered jobs market. Since February 2013, a period of rising monthly employment was only briefly interrupted by two month of higher jobless figures in September and October, she said.

Following the collapse of its property market in 2008, the Spanish economy fell into a deep recession which added half a million people every year to the country's swelling unemployment lines. The crisis worsened after major Spanish banks needed to be bailed out by the government with the help of funding from the European Union.

In the third quarter of 2013, however, the Spanish economy climbed out of the doldrums, growing by 0.1 percent on the back of booming summer tourism.

uhe/tj (Reuters, AFP)

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