Spanish unemployment gets off to worse start in 2015 than last year

January sees loss of 199,902 jobs as jobless claims rise by 77,980

Registered unemployment in Spain rose last month, but it was the smallest increase for a January since 2007, the Labor Ministry said.

There were 77,980 new jobless claims last month, bringing the total unemployment figure to 4,525,691 individuals.

In the last seven years, January jobless claim figures have risen by an average of 144,000 people.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, January claims grew by 42,723.

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However, the economy shed 199,902 jobs last month, a greater loss than in January 2014, bringing Social Security affiliations down to 16,575,312.

The labor market typically begins the year with a surge in job cuts following the end of the Christmas season.

Jobs were lost in all sectors, including hospitality, construction and manufacturing.

Only three Spanish regions registered a drop in unemployment: Extremadura, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. Elsewhere jobless claims rose, especially in Andalusia and the Valencia region.

But the ministry also noted that 2014 had been the first year of job creation since the crisis began, as Spain added 434,000 jobs to the economy, according to the National Statistics Institute.

The jobless rate in December 2014 stood at 23.7%.

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