Spain's registered jobless inches lower in August

PHOTO: Spain's registered jobless inches lower in August

MADRID - The number of Spaniards registered as jobless in August fell marginally from July, marking a sixth month of falling unemployment in what the government said was the latest sign the economy had turned a corner.

Just 31 fewer people signed on as out of work, data from the Labour Ministry showed on Tuesday, the first time since 2000 that registered unemployment had declined during August.

Spain's seasonal jobs market, where many people rely on the busy tourist season for a few months of work in the country's holiday resorts, often prompts a spike in unemployment at the end of August as hotels and restaurants begin closing.

"There's a stabilisation in the jobs market, and I'd say this is a reason for hope. There's a great deal more to do ... but I'd say we've hit bottom. In the second part of this year we'll see slight (economic) growth," Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said during an interview on Cadena Ser radio.

Spain's economy has been in and out of recession since 2008 and the jobless rate has soared far beyond the European Union average as millions of labourers were laid off after a property bubble burst.

The quarterly unemployment rate, taken from a survey and considered a more accurate picture of Spain's jobless situation than the monthly figure of those registering with the government, stood at 26.3 per cent in the second quarter.

Around half of the nearly 6 million without work have been out of a job for more than a year, and many long-term unemployed stop registering at government offices once benefits run out.

Almost a third of all those unemployed in the euro zone live in Spain, while some 56 per cent of under 25s in the jobs market were unable to find work in July, according to official European data.