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JOB MARKET

Jobless claims fall on monthly basis for first time since 2007

But net job creation pledge by the government gets off to a slow start

Unemployed workers line ip to lodge jobless claims at a Spanish employment office.
Unemployed workers line ip to lodge jobless claims at a Spanish employment office. EFE

The Spanish economy is finally beginning to create jobs, albeit at a very slow pace, the Labor Ministry confirmed on Tuesday.

The number of Social Security contributors grew 0.38 percent year-on-year in February, meaning that for the first time since the beginning of the crisis in 2008 there are more workers in the system than there were a year ago; specifically, 61,557 more. Month-to-month growth was 0.24 percent from January.

As for unemployment, the rolls fell by 227,736, or 4.5 percent, from a year earlier. Compared with January, there were 1,949 fewer people collecting unemployment checks in February, a very small figure that nevertheless represents the first month-on-month drop since 2007.

February, however, is not a stable month in terms of job statistics: since 1996, the unemployment rate has declined 10 times and risen nine.

Broken down by sectors, the jobless rate went down 0.95 percent in construction, 0.97 percent in industry, and 0.12 percent in services. However it rose 3.8 percent in agriculture.

By regions, unemployment fell in February in 12 autonomous communities, particularly Aragón (with 5,045 fewer people out of a job) and Catalonia (4,285 fewer), but rose in five regions, most notably Andalusia (9,674) and Castilla-La Mancha (2,435).

Despite an unemployment rate of 26 percent, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has been lately talking about a recovery. On Monday, he told representatives from the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other world leaders gathered in Bilbao for the Global Forum Spain seminar that “Spain has overcome the longest recession in its recent history. Now we are in a period of recovery that will slowly take hold and allow us to create jobs again."

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