Unemployment drop raises hope in Spain

January 04, 2013 - 5:31:37 am

MADRID: Spain’s right-leaning government hailed a rare glimmer of economic hope yesterday when figures showed the jobless queue shrank in December, but unemployment was still up dramatically over the year.

Millions of jobs have been destroyed in Spain since a property market crash and a global financial crisis rocked the economy in 2008. Lines outside unemployment offices have grown further since Spain slipped back into recession in mid-2011 and the government took an axe to spending, provoking two general strikes and growing protests in the past year.

But in December, the number of people registered as unemployed in the eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy fell by 59,094, or 1.2 percent, to 4.85 million from the previous month — the first decline since July last year, the Labour Ministry said. When adjusted to smooth out seasonal blips, Spain’s jobless numbers were down by 41,023 people, or 0.8 percent.