• Unemployment rises in January ending two-month falling streak
  • Talks to form new government continue with King meetings today

Jobless claims in Spain rose less than anticipated in January, in what is typically a challenging month for employment as temporary and seasonal staff are laid off.

New data on Tuesday showed the number of people registered as unemployed rose by 57,247 from December, ending a two-month falling streak. Still, the increase was below the median economist estimate of a 71,000 increase in a Bloomberg survey. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, registered unemployment fell by 49,552, the Labor Ministry said.

Unemployment typically rises in January as temporary workers employed over Christmas are fired and sectors like tourism shed staff during the winter months. Even so, Tuesday’s data showed a smaller jump in unemployment compared with the same month a year ago, signaling a recovering jobs market -- albeit slowly.

On an annual basis, unemployment dropped by 678,200 people in 2015, the biggest decline since records began as the economy expanded 3.2 percent, the fastest pace since the crisis started. While the economic outlook is brighter, the politics are more complicated following an election in December that produced a political deadlock.

King Felipe VI is due to meet Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Socialist rival Pedro Sanchez on Tuesday as negotiations to present a candidate who can win enough support from parliament end. On Monday, Pablo Iglesias, leader of anti-austerity Podemos party, said the Socialists would have to decide whether they opt for a grand-coalition of the right or a government with the left. If no solution can be found, the nation could be heading for fresh elections in the spring.

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