Jobless claims renew rise as holiday season draws to close

August is traditionally a bad month for employment

Jobless claims in Spain rose again last month after a four-month hiatus in which the country's ill-functioning labor market enjoyed something of a respite.

According to figures released Friday by the Labor Ministry, the number of people officially registered as unemployed climbed by 51,185, or 1.25 percent, in August from the previous month to 4.13 million.

While lamenting the increase, the secretary of state for employment, Mari Luz Rodríguez, noted that August was traditionally a bad month for employment and that the rise in August of this year was the lowest since 2006. Jobless claims have risen every August since 2000.

Earlier in the week, Labor Minister Valeriano Gómez had flagged the renewed rise in unemployment, which he attributed to "certain business practices" such as cancelling contracts only to rehire workers the following month in order to avoid having to pay for holiday time.

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"The increase is a little less than we were expecting, but the trend is exactly in line with what happens every year when the summer season starts to run down," Reuters quoted Giadi Giani, an analyst at Citi, as saying. "In general, the labor market is far from stabilizing, and seasonal factors are not helping very much."

The service sector, which supplies about two thirds of the jobs in Spain, accounted for the bulk of the increase in the number of people out of work, with a rise of 1.59 percent, or 37,707. Unemployment in the construction sector climbed by 10,392 and in industry by 9,421. However, it fell in the agricultural sector and among first-time jobseekers.

Male and female unemployment both rose, while jobless claims increased in 14 out of the country's regions, led by Catalonia and Andalusia, which accounted for almost half of the increase.

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