Spain’s already high unemployment rate inched up in the final three months of last year.
Although the number of people registered as looking for work fell by 8,400 in the October to December period from the previous quarter, the jobless rate rose to 26.03 percent of the workforce.
It was up from 25.98 percent in the previous quarter.
The workforce continues to shrink as many long-term unemployed have given up looking for work and the official population has declined with immigrants and Spaniards leave the country.
Researchers at the Carlos III University in Madrid expect the unemployment rate to hold above 25 percent this year before inching down to 24.4 percent by the end of 2015.
While the government has forecast net job creation in 2014, economists at the university were more cautious, saying only that job destruction would practically cease this year while new jobs would be slow to emerge.
The fourth quarter statistics office data confirmed Spain’s position as the country with the second highest unemployment rate in the European Union after Greece.