June 2, 2020 / 8:06 AM / 2 months ago

Spain's job haemorrhage dries up as country emerges from lockdown

FILE PHOTO - A man wearing protective gloves takes pictures of an information board outside a government job center closed for the public during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain, April 28, 2020. REUTERS/Susana Vera

MADRID (Reuters) - The brutal job losses registered in Spain following the coronavirus outbreak reversed in May with the creation of net jobs for the first time since one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns was imposed more than two months ago.

As the lockdown gradually eased in May, a net 97,462 new jobs were created during the month, although the overall number of jobs in the country was still 885,985 lower than in May 2019.

Data from the previous months had showed 900,000 jobs were lost in the second half of March alone. Spain registered 26,573 more people as jobless in May than in April, which represented a 0.69% increase. About 3.86 million people were out of work, data from the Labour Ministry showed on Tuesday.

Most of the new jobs were recorded in agriculture, construction and services that were partly able to resume activity in May. Industry’s job creation remained stagnant.

Since the start of the lockdown in mid March, the regions that depend most on tourism, such as Andalusia, Valencia and the Canary Islands, have lost the most jobs, along with Madrid, the area that was ground zero of the outbreak.

The state provided unemployment benefits to 5,988,572 people, for a total amount of 5.12 billion euros. These include furloughed workers.

About 18.46 million people had a formal job in the country in May.

Reporting by Joanna Jonczyk-Gwizdala, Belen Carreño; editing by Inti Landauro, Larry King

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