Spain's jobless queues grow as summer jobs end

AFP, Wednesday 2 Oct 2013

Unemployment numbers back on the rise as summer season ends

Spain's jobless queues grew in September as a summer jobs boom ended, breaking a six-month run of shrinking unemployment lines, government figures showed Wednesday.
 
The number of people registered as unemployed rose by 25,572 people from the previous month to 4.72 million, the first increase since February, the Labour Ministry said.
 
The jobs landscape looked brighter, however, when the figures were corrected to smooth out seasonal variations, showing the jobless claimants total fell by 35,631 people to 4.83 million.
 
The government and financial markets usually focus on the raw figures rather than the seasonally adjusted data.
 
Spain's state secretary for employment, Engracia Hidalgo, said government reforms, which make it cheaper to lay off workers and easier to change work conditions, would improve the labour market.
 
"There is still a lot of work ahead to turn the situation around but we are convinced that the adopted reforms are the way to recovery and as such the necessary means for our country to recover the path of growth and sustained creation of stable, quality employment," she said in a statement.
 
Spain, the euro zone's fourth-largest economy, is still struggling to overcome the aftermath of a decade-long property bubble that imploded in 2008, destroying millions of jobs and sending debt levels soaring.
 
The government has said it expects the economy to emerge from a two-year recession in the third quarter.
 
The official unemployment rate, which is calculated on a broad household survey released every three months, hit 26.26 percent in the second quarter of this year.
 
Last week, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's right-leaning government forecast that the unemployment rate would be 26.6 percent in 2013 and 25.9 percent in 2014.
 
The government raised its outlook for economic growth next year to 0.7 percent from an earlier forecast of 0.5 percent.
 
The International Monetary Fund has warned that Spain faces five more years with an unemployment rate topping 25 percent unless it enacts new reforms including measures to help firms slash wages instead of axing staff.
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