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Spain records biggest fall in April jobless claims in almost 20 years

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Spain registered its steepest decline in the number of jobless people for April in almost two decades, government data showed Tuesday, as the eurozone country's economic recovery gathered pace.

[MADRID] Spain registered its steepest decline in the number of jobless people for April in almost two decades, government data showed Tuesday, as the eurozone country's economic recovery gathered pace.

In the third straight month of falling unemployment, jobless claims declined in April by 118,923 to 4.33 million from March.

That is the biggest drop for the month since the current statistical series began in 1996, the labour ministry said in a statement.

On a seasonally adjusted basis the number of registered unemployed fell by 50,160.

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Spain's seasonal employment market, which includes jobs in the country's vital tourism industry, is often tight in April as hotels and restaurants take on extra staff for the Easter break.

The number of registered unemployed was down by 351,285 or 7.5 per cent over April 2014, its strongest decline in 19 years, the ministry said.

The number of people without work fell across all sectors and in every region.

Deputy Labour Minister Engracia Hidalgo said in a statement that the data show the "solid and positive" trend in unemployment is consolidating.

The labour ministry's monthly figure is a different measure from the quarterly unemployment rate, which stood at 23.78 per cent in the first quarter, according to the National Statistic Institute.

The institute, which includes in its estimate other job seekers who are not signed on, said there were 5.44 million unemployed in Spain at the end of March.

Spain returned to growth in 2014 with an expansion of 1.4 per cent after five years of recession or stagnation following the collapse of a building boom in 2008.

Spain's conservative government, which is facing a year-end general election, last week hiked its economic growth forecast to 2.9 per cent for 2015 and 2016, a prediction unions said was too optimistic.

It had previously expected growth to reach 2.4 per cent in 2015.

The government forecast the unemployment rate would fall to 22.1 per cent in 2015.

AFP

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