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Economy shed jobs for sixth year in a row in 2013

Unemployment as a percentage of the population rises as thousands exit the labor market

The Spanish economy shed jobs for the sixth year in a row in 2013, official statistics show.

While the job destruction was less intense than in previous years, the loss of 198,900 positions, added to other years’ job cuts, yields an accumulated figure of 3.75 million since the crisis began in 2008.

The figures were released on Thursday as the Bank of Spain confirmed government estimates that the economy grew 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months when GDP rose 0.1 percent, ending the longest recession in Spain since democracy was restored. For the whole of 2013, output declined by 1.2 percent, the central bank said.

According to the National Statistics Institute’s (INE) Active Population Survey (EPA) for the fourth quarter, unemployment fell slightly on the previous year, ending 2013 at 5.896 million, with 69,000 fewer people out of work. However, the number of people in work declined by 65,000 to 16.758 million

The INE survey gives a different unemployment figure to the Social Security rate of registered joblessness, which, in December stood at 4,701,338.

Despite the fall in the number of unemployed, the jobless rate rose slightly to 26.03 percent in the fourth quarter as the active population shrank by 267,900 as a result of people dropping out of the labor market after losing hope of finding a job or moving abroad to find work.

However, seasonally-adjusted figures showed that employment increased by 0.29 percent in the first quarter, the first positive reading since the start of 2008. Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said a few weeks back that the government expects net job creation this year when it estimates the economy will grow 0.7 percent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday tripled its growth forecast for Spain this year for this year to 0.6 percent from 0.2 percent.

Employment in the fourth quarter in agriculture increased by 85,200 but shrank by 109,100 in the key service sector after the end of the main tourist season. It also fell by 35,200 in construction and by 6,000 in industry. The number of people in part-time work increased by 153,100 in the quarter, while those in full-time jobs fell by 218,100.