Spanish jobless figures rise slightly in first quarter of 2015

Around 114,300 jobs were lost and workforce shrank, but year-on-year data shows growth

People line up outside an employment office.
People line up outside an employment office.EFE

Spain’s ongoing economic recovery has not been enough to boost employment this winter.

Around 114,300 jobs were lost in the first three months of the year, while the unemployment rate grew slightly from 23.7% to 23.78%, according to the latest active population survey (EPA) released by the National Statistics Institute.

Despite the setback, year-on-year figures show sustained job creation of over half a million positions.

Most of the European regions with the highest jobless figures are Spanish, according to Eurostat

The inertia of the economic recovery means that despite a negative first quarter, year-on-year and seasonally adjusted data are positive: both employment and unemployment are in a better position than this time last year.

Broken down by sectors, most jobs were lost in services. The private sector was responsible for the majority of these cuts, as the public sector added 29,200 new jobs in the first three months of the year.

There was also a significant reduction in the size of the labor force by as many as 127,400 people, for a total workforce of 22.9 million. The bulk of that reduction was caused by job destruction, as opposed to people dropping out of the job market.

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Meanwhile, the European statistics agency Eurostat on Wednesday revealed that the five European regions with the highest jobless figures are all in Spain.

Andalusia (34.8%), Canary Islands (32.4%), Ceuta (31.9%), Extremadura (29.8%) and Castilla-La Mancha (29%) had the highest unemployment rates of the 272 European regions analyzed by Eurostat.

Four Greek regions and Spain’s Melilla make up the rest of the top 10 list.

In 2014, the national jobless rate dropped from 26% to 24.4%, which is still significanlty above the EU average of 10.1% and the euro-zone average of 11.3%.

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