World Economy

Spain GDP Grows in Q3, Joblessness Below 20%

Spain GDP Grows in Q3, Joblessness Below 20%Spain GDP Grows in Q3, Joblessness Below 20%

Spain’s economic growth eased marginally as expected in the third quarter, the statistical office INE said Friday.

Gross domestic product climbed 0.7% in the third quarter from prior three months, when it advanced 0.8%. A similar slower growth was last logged in the fourth quarter of 2014, RTT reported.

Nonetheless, GDP expanded for the twelfth consecutive quarter.

On a yearly basis, the economy expanded 3.2%, slower than the second quarter’s 3.4% expansion. GDP was forecast to grow 3.1%.

Meanwhile, Spain’s unemployment rate has fallen below 20% for the first time in six years, as the country’s economic recovery continues to power ahead despite 10 months of political deadlock and government drift.

In his speech to parliament on Wednesday, Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy credited his first administration with turning around the labor market—and reiterated his promise of bringing the total number of employed Spaniards back to 20 million. The number currently stands at 18.5 million.

“We used to be the country that destroyed more jobs than any other in Europe. Today we are first in job creation in the eurozone,” Rajoy said. “We have changed the trend but we must not lose sight of our goal. There are still too many in Spain who are looking for an opportunity (to work).”

According to the latest data from Spain’s quarterly labor market survey, the economy created close to 480,000 jobs over the past 12 months. The number of unemployed fell by 530,000 over the same period, or 11%, to 4.32 million.

The unemployment rate now stands at 18.9%—still one of the highest in the western world but the lowest in Spain since the fourth quarter of 2009.

“These are good numbers, especially when you consider that the country has been paralyzed politically for almost a year,” said Marcel Jansen, a professor of economics at the Autonoma University in Madrid.

The latest jobs data add to the generally upbeat picture for the Spanish economy, which is on course to grow by 3.2% this year. It also comes as the country is poised to emerge from a protracted period of political uncertainty. Rajoy, the leader of the conservative Popular party, is due to be elected for a second term as prime minister on Saturday.

Spain has been without a proper government since December, the longest period of political stalemate since the country returned to democracy four decades ago.

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