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Spanish unemployment falls slightly in November

Source: Reuters - Tue 3rd Dec 2013
Spanish unemployment falls slightly in November

The number of Spaniards registered as unemployed fell slightly in November after rising in the previous month, with 4.8 million people out of work in the newly expanding economy.

Labour Ministry data on Tuesday showed the number of registered jobless fell by 2,475 people, a 0.05% decline from October, which saw a rise of 87,028 people as tourist season hires were laid off.

The Ministry's monthly jobless data uses a different methodology to the National Statistics Institute's quarterly survey. The latter, considered a better guide to the total number of people out of work, showed unemployment at 26% in Q3.

The monthly figure suggested Spain's unemployment rate would remain around 26% for Q4, said Sabadell bank.

Unemployment remains Spain's most stubborn problem as it emerges from years of stagnation and recession, and the EU expects the rate to stay above 25% through 2015.

Spain's economy grew for the first time in 10 quarters in the 3 months to September, albeit by just 0.1%.

Compared with the same month a year before, the number of unemployed fell 2.02% in November, the Labour Ministry said. It was the 2nd consecutive year-on-year decline following an October fall which was the first since May 2007.

The construction and industry sectors saw employment rise during the month, while jobs in services and agriculture fell.

The government considers the falls evidence the recovery is gaining a foothold although growth will have to be much stronger before significant inroads are made into unemployment. The economy has contracted around 7.5% since 2008, when the bursting of a decade-long property bubble left millions out of work and sent domestic demand into freefall.

The rebound, led by the export sector, is expected to be shallow, due in part to stubbornly high unemployment. Spain also has one of the euro zone's highest budget deficits and took aid from its euro zone peers to help rescue its banks.

A labour reform has already made hiring and firing cheaper but more measures may be needed to tackle Spain's dual labour market, where older, full-time workers have traditionally received more protection than temporary hires.

"Much more still needs to be done, especially in terms of public employment services and active policies to improve employability and prevent a possible increase in structural employment," Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, told Spanish newspaper El Mundo on Tuesday.

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