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Almost one in five Spaniards out of work in jobless rise

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A queue outside an unemployment office in central Madrid yesterday

A queue outside an unemployment office in central Madrid yesterday

REUTERS

A queue outside an unemployment office in central Madrid yesterday

Spain's unemployment rate edged up slightly in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 23.7pc as the number of people out of work grew even though more than 65,000 new jobs were added.

A sky-high unemployment rate - second only to Greece's in Europe - is still a major drag on an economic turnaround in Spain, with many households struggling to make ends meet.

The jobless rate had been gradually dropping over the past year, after Spain came out of recession and as the worst of a financial crisis and property market crash fades.

There are still more than 5.4 million people out of work, according to a survey from Spain's National Statistics Institute INE yesterday, some 3.5 million more than when the prolonged downturn began seven years ago.

But employment grew by nearly 434,000 in 2014 - the best year for job creation since the slump. "We expect employment creation to continue, though perhaps at a slower rate than in 2014 as strong growth was partly due to pent-up demand for labour," said Victor Echevarria, from financial consultancy Analistas Financieros Internacionales.

Irish Independent