MADRID Jan 3 The number of registered jobless
in Spain fell by 2.24 percent in December, adding to evidence of
a gradual economic recovery though seasonal factors played a
role in what was the biggest drop ever for the month.
The jobless total fell by 107,570 people, leaving 4.7
million people out of work, Friday's Labour Ministry figures
showed. The drop was also the second biggest since the data
It was also the best December since 2001 for numbers of
newly employed workers registering for social security
contributions, Tomas Burgos, Social Security Secretary, told
reporters. "(This) is not a coincidence, but rather reflects a
series of circumstances which inspire confidence."
A separate quarterly survey by the statistics institute INE,
which polls those who are looking for work rather than those who
sign on at unemployment offices and is considered more
representative of the labour market, put the rate at 26 percent
in the third quarter.
Spain's economy is struggling to gain momentum after a
recession that followed the collapse of a housing bubble in 2008
which left banks, households and companies saddled with debt.
Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said earlier this week that
job creation in 2014 would be "significant" as a tentative
economic recovery kicks in, but did not specify further.
Investors are also hopeful Spain's deep-seated economic
problems are beginning to ease, and the market spread between
the interest on the country's 10-year debt and that of euro zone
benchmark Germany fell below 200 basis points for the first time
since May 2011 on Friday.
But analysts responded cautiously to Friday's data, with one
factor in the strong reading likely to have been the extra hands
taken on at retailers expecting a slightly better Christmas
shopping period, which in Spain ends with gift-giving on January
"It's encouraging but it's still early to breathe a sigh of
relief. The data may well be seasonal, and the worry is that the
improvement may reverse in January," said Steve Webster,
economist at 4Cast, noting that the overall rate was still very
At the start of December, Spanish retailers announced they
would be employing 5 percent more people, or 18,000 workers, for
the Christmas period compared with the previous year.
A flood of job seekers crashed Ikea's Spanish servers twice
in December after some 20,000 people applied for just 400
positions at the Swedish furniture retailer's new store in