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Summer jobs bring Spanish unemployment to six-year low

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Summer jobs bring Spanish unemployment to six-year low
Spain's tourism boom creates summer jobs. Photo: AFP
15:41 CEST+02:00
Spain's jobless rate slipped to 20 percent in the second quarter of 2016, as the tourism boom provided much needed seasonal work.

The official figures by Spain's National Statistics Institute (INE) were published on Thursday revealed the lowest unemployment rate in nearly six years and brought a boost to acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as he struggled to stay in office.

The number of people out of work fell by 216,700 during the three month period of April to June as summer work in the tourism industry swelled the ranks of the employed.

Acting Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said he was confident the figure would drop below 20 percent by the year's end and Spain would have 20 million people employed as planned by 2019, up from 18 million at the moment.

The figures represented the lowest jobless level since the third quarter of 2010 and down from 21 percent in the previous quarter but Spain's unemployment rate still remains the second-highest in the European Union after Greece.

The youth jobless rate – for those under 25 years of age – remained at a staggering 46 percent.

Spain is enjoying a record year in tourism figures as holidaymakers choose Spain over trouble spots such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia.

But although the service sector fuelled employment, many of the jobs were only on short-term contracts.

The UGT union warned in a statement that the new jobs in the second quarter were "temporary, low-quality and low-paid."

Among the 252,700 salaried jobs created during that time, according to INE, around two-thirds are temporary.

And the second quarter rise in jobs is not as strong as it was at the same time in 2014 and 2015, when more than 400,000 posts were created.

Employment creation remains one of the key concerns for Spaniards as the nation struggles into its eighth month without a government following two inconclusive general elections.

King Felipe VI is holding talks with political party leaders this week in the hope that a compromise can be struck to form a coalition government and avoid a third election.

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