The government in Spain has said the number of unemployed people in the country has gone down markedly in recent weeks. It was a rare piece of good news from a national economy still stuck in recession.
The Spanish Labor Ministry announced Tuesday the number of people registered as unemployed fell by almost 2 percent in May or 98,000 people, leaving 4.89 million out of work in the southern European nation.
The ministry viewed the figures as a gratifying sign, saying they were boosting hopes for a fledgling recovery of an economy still reeling from a 2008 real estate market crash.
But not all economists shared that optimism, given that the data did not include the long-term unemployed and did not consider seasonal factors such as increased hires for the holiday season.
"To say we're seeing the onset of a recovery in the labor market is a bridge too far in my view," said ING economist Martin Van Vliet. "It's not necessarily a recovery driven by healthy job growth as it could be influenced by the recent trend of young people moving abroad in search of work."
After Greece, Spain continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the 27-member European Union. In the first quarter of the year, 6.2 million Spaniards were out of work, with the jobless rate standing at around 27 percent.
hg/rc (AP, Reuters, dpa)