Signs of a recovery may be starting to show in Spain as the number of people out of work fell by the biggest amount on record in December.The number of people registered as unemployed shrank by 107,570 last month, leaving the country’s total out-of-work figure at around 4.7 million.
During 2013 as a whole, the number dropped by 147,385 – the first full calendar year of decline since the financial crisis began.
Although the figure is likely to have been affected by extra people being taken on by retailers in the run-up to Christmas, it is seen as an indication of a wider improvement in the Spanish economy.
The number of under-25s out of work also improved. Over the full year, 44,051 found work – with December alone accounting for 39,742 of the total.
The Secretary of State for Employment, Engracia Hidalgo said the Labour Ministry was committed to improving the situation for Spain’s young people, saying: “We hope to further reduce unemployment among our youth in 2014.
“These are encouraging figures which inspire us to continue working for the recovery and employment in 2014.”
Across Spain’s 14 regions the most improvement was seen in Andalucia, where 30,467 people found work in December and in Madrid which saw an 14,706 increase. However, only 209 people in Galicia found work in the month.
The biggest employer was the services sector which took on 87,253 people and agriculture and fisheries, which employed 8,890.
A separate quarterly survey from the country’s statistics body, the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica (INE) put the unemployment rate at 26% in the third quarter, the equivalent of six million people. The rate is second only to Greece in the European Union.