Seasonal hiring trims Spain's massive jobless total

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Seasonal hiring trims Spain's massive jobless total

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The number of people registered as unemployed in Spain has fallen, but that was due to hiring for the summer season.

The total in May fell by almost 100,000, but once seasonal factors – such as holiday hires by hotels and fruit pickers taken on by farmers – were added in, the drop was just 265 people from April.

The total also excluded the long-term unemployed – those who have been out of work for a year or more. That is more than one in 10 of Spain’s workforce. Unemployment benefit stops after two years after which people get a monthly stipend of 426 euros..

A 27-year-old single mother in Madrid said: “I have been jobless for a year. I did an industrial business course but the truth is there is no work and now I have signed up for another training course, here in my neighbourhood, and I am hoping that there will be some work in the future, because the truth is things are really bad.”

The jobless drop was the biggest for the month of May on record and the Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria called the numbers “the best we’ve seen since the crisis began”.

But Spain’s economy remains crippled and the unemployment rate was 27 percent in the first quarter, the second highest in the European Union after Greece.

In April it rose above six million for the first time ever. That figure came from the National Statistics Institute, which polls registered and non-registered unemployed.

The rate has risen every quarter since mid-2011, along with the budget cuts and labour market reforms that the government has introduced, fuelling public anger and sparking protests in major cities.