Spanish unemployment made further impressive declines in March, registering its second consecutive month of falls and driving the overall jobless rate to the lowest since in 2010 in the eurozone’s fourth largest economy.
Figures from the country’s labour ministry show 48,500 Spaniards were pulled out of unemployment last month compared to February, with the overall 12 month drop of 392k the best March ever recorded.
Spain has been one of the eurozone’s star performers in recent years having emerged from a severe recession and banking bailout in 2012. Its unemployment rate has made impressive declines since peaking at 26 per cent in 2013 but at 18 per cent still remains the second highest in the eurozone after Greece.
Over half a million people have been taken out of unemployment over the last 12 months, according to figures from Eurostat, taking the total number of out of work Spaniards to 4.09m and accounting for half of the 1.2m drop seen across the 19-member eurozone in the last year.
The country has been forced to undertake a series of labour market reforms to increase the flexibility of its workforce by making it easier for companies to hire and fire workers and take on temporary employment.
Total contracts of employment rose by nearly 15 per cent in March compared to the same month last year to 1.73m – also the best March recorded by the Spanish labour ministry. Indefinite contracts climbed by 18 per cent outpacing growth in temporary employment, which rose 14.5 per cent.
Spain’s construction industry – which was hit hard by the country’s housing bust six years ago – accounted for the biggest decline in March unemployment at 2.44 per cent, followed by industry (1.6 per cent) and services (1.5 per cent).