Spain’s labour market resilient as unemployment drops in Nov

FILE PHOTO: Unemployment in Spain

MADRID (Reuters) -Unemployment fell and net jobs were created in November in Spain, official data showed on Friday, reflecting strength in the labour market despite a slowing economy.

The figures follow other recent data showing a slight easing of inflation and better than expected retail sales, raising hopes that Spain could eventually avoid slipping into a recession this winter, which has been forecast by all major analysts. Tourist numbers also surged in October, separate data showed on Friday.

The number of people registering as jobless in Spain fell by 1.2% in November from a month earlier, or by 33,512 people, data from the Labour and Social Security Ministries showed. That left a total of 2.88 million people out of work, the lowest in a month of November since 2007.

Spain added 78,695 net formal jobs during the month to 20.32 million jobs, according to seasonally-adjusted data, making it the 19th month of job creation in a row, a separate report from the Social Security Ministry showed.

BBVA Research on Thursday upgraded its forecasts for Spain, with the economy expected to grow by 4.6% in 2022, in line with the latest IMF forecast. By 2023, analysts expect growth to be above 1%, while the Spanish government expects 2.1%.

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October retail sales data released this week also showed better than expected consumer spending, accompanied by a slowdown in inflation to 6.6% in November.

Historically, November is a bad month for employment in the Mediterranean nation, because it marks the end of the tourist season. But foreign visitors data continued to show signs of strength in the autumn, accelerating a recovery in the sector to pre-pandemic levels.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Spain in October soared 39% from the same month last year to 7.18 million, albeit lower than the 7.59 million tourists who visited in October 2019, official statistics showed on Friday.

The fewer tourists are spending about the same as in 2019, up to 8.30 billion euros ($8.73 billion).

Employment is particularly strong for technical jobs, which the government says is related to the deployment of European recovery funds.

(Reporting by Joao Manuel Mauricio in Gdansk and Belén Carreño in Madrid, editing by Inti Landauro and Susan Fenton)