Spain’s economy grew 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 relative to the previous quarter, according to the central bank, which noted, however, that the country’s gross domestic product shrank 1.2 percent last year from 2012.
In its most recent economic bulletin, the Bank of Spain said Thursday that the Iberian nation’s economy improved gradually during the year to emerge from its latest recession, which began in early 2011.
The central bank attributed the turnaround to an easing of tension in financial markets, the steady recovery of access to foreign financing, greater confidence in the country’s economy and better job-market performance.
The number of jobless in Spain fell by 69,000 people in 2013 to 5.89 million, while the employment rate came in at 26.03 percent for the last three months of last year, according to the latest edition of the National Statistics Institute’s EPA workforce survey.
The annual decline in the number of jobless was the first since 2007.
But job destruction still occurred last year compared to 2012, since 198,800 fewer people were employed at the close of 2013 and the number of people in work declined to 16.76 million, translating into a labor participation rate of 59.43 percent.
Unemployment declined across all economic sectors, although the biggest impact was felt in services, with the ranks of the jobless falling by 163,000.
By contrast, the number of people who lost their job more than a year ago and have been unable to find new work rose by 163,700 and the number of first-time job-seekers unable to obtain employment climbed by 88,700.
Also on Thursday, the EPA survey’s figures showed that the number of households with all of their economically active members out of work rose by 24,600 in the fourth quarter to 1.8 million.