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Thirty-one Spaniards find work in August

Published: 03 Sep 2013 09:59 GMT+02:00

The total number of registered unemployed — 4.70 million in raw figures — was basically unchanged, according to the Employment Ministry report.

But the decline of 31 people from the previous month was enough for the Spanish government to hail a sixth consecutive month of declines, and the first drop in the month of August since 2000.

When the figures were corrected to smooth out seasonal variations, the number of claimants fell by a more substantial 13,700 people to 4.87 million.

The government and financial markets usually focus on the raw figures rather than the seasonally adjusted data.

Spain's state secretary for employment, Engracia Hidalgo, said the figures were coherent with other positive economic indicators such as improving sentiment and competitiveness "together with an increase in the credibility of our economy".

Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told radio station Cadena Sur that the August figures showed "the brutal destruction of jobs" was ending.

"I believe we have touched bottom," said de Guindos. 

Spain, the eurozone's fourth-largest economy, is still struggling to overcome the aftermath of a decade-long property bubble that imploded in 2008, destroying millions of jobs and sending debt levels soaring.

The economy has been shrinking for two years and official data show the unemployment rate hit 26.26 percent in the second quarter of this year, slightly below the record 27.16 percent posted in the first quarter.

The International Monetary Fund released a report last month warning Spain it faces five more years with an unemployment rate topping 25 percent unless Madrid enacts new reforms including measures to help firms slash wages instead of axing staff.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government is forecasting a jobless rate of 26.7 percent in 2014 and 25 percent in 2015.

Spain has two sets of unemployment figures, providing different estimates.

Employment Ministry figures, like those released today, are based on the number of unemployed persons registered in their offices.

Spain's stats office, the INE, however, conducts a survey (the EPA) of 65,000 Spanish households to obtain its results.

The EPA includes responses from some people who want to work but who are not registered in the employment offices.

The responses also include those who fall into other special working categories which are not recorded by the Ministry.

This explains why EPA unemployment figures are much higher than those of Spain's Employment Ministry.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.es)

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