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Spain's unemployment drops in fourth quarter, lowest in 10 years

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Spain's unemployment drops in fourth quarter, lowest in 10 years
FILE PHOTO - People wait to enter a government-run job centre in Malaga, Spain, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Jon Nazca/File Photo   -   Copyright  Jon Nazca(Reuters)
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MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in 10 years in the fourth quarter as more jobs in agriculture and construction offset the tourist industry’s off-season, official data showed on Tuesday.

The unemployment rate slipped to 14.45 percent from 14.55 percent in the previous quarter as the total number of people out of work dropped by 21,700, the National Statistics Institute said.

Spanish unemployment has fallen steadily from a high of nearly 27 percent in early 2013 after a burst property bubble in 2008, and a subsequent five-year economic slump gutted the jobs market, destroying jobs in all sectors.

The jobs market is especially vulnerable to seasonal factors such as tourism, which is worth nearly 12 percent of economic output, and agriculture, leaving many people relying on short-term, temporary contracts.

The total number of people working in Spain rose 566,200 people in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to 19.56 million, the largest annual rise since 2016, INE data showed. On the quarter, the number of employed was up 36,600 people.

From a quarter earlier, the number on people in work rose in agriculture and construction and fell in services and industry. However, from a year earlier, the number of people employed rose in all main sectors apart from industry.

The workforce, or the total number of people in work or looking for work, rose by 103,800 people in the fourth quarter form a year earlier, to 22.87 million people, the data showed.

(Reporting by Joanna Jonczyk-Gwizdala; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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