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August 5, 2009

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Pain eases on jobs situation in Spain

THE number of people filing claims for unemployment benefits in Spain fell for the third straight month in July, due to government investment and summer jobs, the Labor Ministry said yesterday.

The monthly decline of 20,794 left the total number of people claiming benefits at 3,544,095, the ministry reported.

The decrease was strongest in the services and construction sectors and was attributed to the holiday season and government public works projects.

The ministry said it was the biggest monthly drop in claims since July 2004.

Spain has gone from being a European model for growth, creating more than a third of all euro zone jobs over the past decade, to having the region's highest unemployment rate.

With 4.13 million people out of work, Spain's unemployment hit 17.9 percent in the second quarter.

The EU statistics agency Eurostat, however, put the figure even higher, at 18.1 percent.

Maravillas Rojo, secretary general at the Labor Ministry, said the July figures were good news but not enough to indicate a turnaround.

"It's possible that, in the next few months, the unemployment figures will behave differently. But if they go up, we don't expect it to be at the same rhythm as in the final months of last year," she said.

Carlos Bravo of Spain's Workers Commissions union said jobless figures would likely worsen by the end of the year when the government projects finish and summer seasonal work ends.


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