Spain Unemployment Lowest In 15 Years

Spain reported a sharp growth in the number of jobless in January, reflecting the usual trend of rising unemployment at the start of the year, but the overall total of those without jobs was the lowest for the month since 2008.

The number of registered unemployed increased by 70,744 persons from December, data from the labor ministry showed Thursday.

Unemployment usually tends to rise in the first month of the year, but the latest increase was below average, the ministry added.

The number of unemployed totaled 2.91 million, the lowest for the month of January since 2008.

Compared to January 2022, the unemployment decreased 214,681 or 6.87 percent.

Joblessness among youth aged below 25 years increased by 7,753 people or 3.96 percent compared to the previous month.

Registered unemployment decreased by 3,111 in the construction sector and hardly changed in industry, where there were 408 more unemployed. Unemployment in services increased 70,759 and by 1,457 in agriculture.

Official data released last week showed that the unemployment rate rose slightly to 12.87 percent in the fourth quarter from 12.67 percent in the third quarter. The number of unemployed persons increased 43,800 to 3.02 million, the statistical office INE reported.

Elsewhere on Thursday, INE data showed that Spain’s visitor arrivals increased at a faster pace at the end of the year, thanks to year-end holidays amid a recovery in domestic tourism from pandemic related woes.

Tourist arrivals climbed 39.9 percent year-on-year after a 29.2 percent rise in November. Total expenditure made by international tourists visiting Spain in December reached EUR 5.241 billion, which represents a 48.2 percent surge compared to the same month last year.

A revival in the tourism industry, a key sector for the Spanish economy, will give a boost to the economic growth this year.

The economy had expanded 0.2 percent at the final quarter of the year, underpinned by state spending, official data showed last week.

In 2022, gross domestic product advanced 5.5 percent, which was the second consecutive growth after an 11.3 percent slump in the Covid-hit year 2020.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast Spain to expand 1.1 percent this year and 2.4 percent in 2024.

Nonetheless, recent S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ survey suggested that Spain’s manufacturing sector remained in the contraction zone in January.

Workforce numbers in manufacturing were stable in January, the survey revealed. Some firms who registered a lower level of employment cited voluntary resignations while others reportedly added to staffing levels in preparation for the future.

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