Spain unemployment drops slightly

Lines for filing jobless claims in Spain, as at this benefits office in Madrid in September, won't get much shorter because of November's 0.05% dip in unemployment. But the economy appears to be moving in the right direction, officials say. (Dominique Faget / AFP/Getty Images / September 4, 2012)

Jobless claims in Spain dipped by a meager 2,475 in November, but the drop marked the first time in at least 16 years that unemployment eased during the dire months that follow the summer tourist season.

The Labor Ministry employment report for November was the latest indication that Spain has halted its economic tailspin, although the country still faces a staggering 26% jobless rate and barely perceptible economic growth.

The country is heading in the right direction after nine straight quarters of economic contraction but has "a long way to go" to recovery, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told El Pais.

Finance authorities in Madrid reported after the latest quarter, July through September, that the economy grew by 0.1%, the first expansion since early 2011.

The November drop in jobless claims represented only 0.05% of those without work, the Euronews agency noted. But as November is traditionally a drag on employment due to the sharp falloff in tourism jobs in late autumn, the slight uptick was encouraging as the first increase for November since the government launched its current employment tracking system in 1996, El Pais said.

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