Spanish joblessness falls, job creation picks up in March

MADRID: The number of people registering as jobless in Spain fell last month and job creation increased as an economic revival that has cut unemployment by a third from the peak hit during a five-year recession continued.

Labour Ministry data on Tuesday showed the number of workers signing onto the social security system, a measure of job creation, rose 0.91 percent from the previous month, the biggest rise on record for the month of March.

The number of people registering as jobless fell by 1.29 percent from a month earlier.

But at 18 percent in February Spain still has the highest unemployment rate in the European Union after Greece, and even though 48,599 fewer people registered as jobless in March, 3.7 million people remained out of work.

Moreover, nearly 90 percent of new employment was contracted under temporary terms which make it hard for people to take on big financial commitments like a mortgage as they can be fired at short notice.

Unemployment fell in the construction, services and industry sectors, but rose in agriculture.

Among people under 25 years old, unemployment fell 13.7 percent year-on-year, more sharply than among other age groups, signalling a recovery in one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Europe.

Fewer people registered as jobless in 16 of the country's 17 regions, and registrations rose only in the Canary Islands.

The month of March last year contained Easter Week, which usually brings a temporary boost to employment in tourism, a major driver of growth in the euro zone's fourth-largest economy. In 2017, Easter falls in April.