Central bank predicts ‘slowing’ jobless rate

Spain's recession will continue in the second quarter although the unemployment rate, already at a record high, will rise at a slower pace, the Bank of Spain said Wednesday.

"The limited information concerning the second quarter suggest a further decline in output however in a context in which a certain improvement in qualitative indicators, especially on the side of demand, can be noted," the bank said in its monthly bulletin for May.

Spain's gross domestic product tumbled by 0.5 percent on a quarterly basis in the first quarter, its seventh quarterly contraction, after falling by 0.8 percent in the final three months of 2012.

The downturn has caused the country's unemployment rate to soar to a record 27.16 percent in the first quarter of 2013, the highest level since the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975.

But the Bank of Spain said household confidence increased in April "mainly due to a less negative evolution of job expectations."

The number of job seekers registered as unemployed in April fell from the previous month by 46,050 people, or 0.91 percent, dipping below the five-million mark to 4.989 million, according to figures from the Ministry of Labour.

The Spanish government predicts the economy will shrink by 1.3 percent in 2013, after contracting by 1.37 percent last year, while the unemployment rate will end the year at 27.1 percent.

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