Spain's January jobless rises after Christmas period

FILE PHOTO: People stand in a line to enter a government employment office in Madrid, Spain, May 5, 2015. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish unemployment increased in February after two months of falls as employers shed workers hired for the Christmas season, official data showed on Monday.

Registered jobless rose by 2.61 percent from a month earlier, or 83,464 people, making a total of 3.3 million out of work in January.

Joblessness rose especially in the service industry by 85,584 people or 3.8 percent, and in agriculture by 4,920 people or 3.55 percent, the Labour Ministry said.

In seasonally adjusted terms, registered unemployment rose by 3,292 people from a month earlier, the ministry said.

Spain’s unemployment rate, the second highest in the European Union after Greece, has fallen from a high of nearly 27 percent in 2013 to 14.45 percent in the fourth quarter as the recovery from a five-year slump slowly brought jobs back.

Quarterly unemployment data from the National Statistics Institute is calculated using a polled survey of the workforce.

Monthly Labour Ministry data relies on those signing on with the government as out of work.

The number of workers paying into the social security system - or those registered as holding paid employment - fell by 1.08 percent from a month earlier, or 204,865 people, the data showed.

“As usual, January reflects the impact of the end of the Christmas campaign”, the ministry said.

Reporting by Joao Manuel Mauricio; Writing by Jose Elias Rodriguez; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne