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Business

Spain unemployment drops for fifth month, or does it?

The Spanish government has announced that unemployment in the crisis-hit southern European nation has decreased for yet another month. Madrid viewed this as proof of a nascent economic recovery.

The number of officially registered job seekers in Spain dropped by another 1.4 percent to 4.7 million people in July, the Labor Ministry reported Friday. The figures marked the fifth monthly fall in a row, Madrid added.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted the renewed decrease was a sign that his country was gradually rising out of its six-year slump. Joblessness in the nation had soared to record levels since the property bubble burst back in 2008.

The government noted that the monthly fall in the number of jobless people in July was attributable to a marked pickup in tourism in the summer holiday season. Spain's tourist sector is worth over 10 percent of overall economic output and has gained momentum as many holiday makers have been avoiding trouble spots in usually popular destinations in northern Africa such as Egypt.

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But the Labor ministry's figures tend to be much lower than those provided by the National Statistics Institute (INE), as the latter uses a wider calculation method, also counting the long-term unemployed who've stopped registering.

INE put the number of jobless people at nearly 6 million, showing the unemployment rate at 26.2 percent in the second quarter of the year.

Analysts agreed unemployment would remain high for years to come as the domestic economy continued struggling to return to sustainable growth after being in recession since the end of 2011.

hg/tj (Reuters, dpa)

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