From El Pais
The Spanish labour market created over 400,000 jobs last year and unemployment fell to 18.6% in the final quarter of 2016, according to new figures released on Thursday by the National Statistics Institute (INE). While still one of the highest in Europe, that is the lowest unemployment rate Spain has seen in the last seven years.
Data from the quarterly workforce survey known as the Encuesta de Población Activa (Active Population Survey, or EPA) shows that the Spanish economy created 413,600 jobs in 2016, representing 3% growth in the 12-month period. It is the second year in a row that job creation grew at a similar rate.
The number of people willing and able to work fell by over 100,000 which means the number of unemployed people in the country actually fell by 541,700. This is a drop of 11.3% in a year - not as large as the fall of 678,200 seen in 2015.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy celebrated the new figures in radio statements on Onda Cero, underscoring that from 2013 to 2016, Spain created 1,750,000 jobs.
“There is still a lot left to do, but five straight years of economic crisis cannot be resolved in 15 minutes,” he said. “If we are able to maintain economic policy (...) we will reach 20 million people in employment.”