The number of registered job seekers in Spain fell by 2.24 percent in December. The unemployment total was down by 107,570 people, leaving 4.7 million registered with job centres.
However official surveys by the statistics institute INE show 5.9 million people remain out of work – 25.9 percent of the workforce in the third quarter.
Those polls are of people who are looking for work rather than those who sign on at unemployment offices and are considered more representative of the labour market
The government said the latest figures signal a gradual economic recovery is underway.
The fact that more newly employed workers registered to pay social security contributions, was also hailed by Tomás Burgos, the minister responsible for that: “This was the best December for registrations since 2001. It is not a coincidence, but rather reflects a series of circumstances which inspire confidence.”
Economists pointed out some of the fall in jobless numbers was due to extra workers being taken on by retailers expecting a slightly better Christmas shopping period, which in Spain ends with gift-giving on January 6th.
They also noted Spain’s labour force is shrinking as people leave the country, seeking work abroad.