Spain Jobless Claims Fall More Than Forecast Amid Impasse

  • March data add to two months of falling unemployment
  • Spain faces May 2 deadline to form government before new vote

Jobless claims in Spain fell more than anticipated in March, even as the political impasse continues with lawmakers struggling to form a government following an inconclusive vote.

New data on Monday showed the number of people registered as unemployed decreased by more than 58,200 people from February, adding to two months of falling unemployment. The decline was greater than the median economist estimate, which predicted a drop of 50,000 people in a Bloomberg News survey. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, registered unemployment fell by almost 45,500 people, the Labor Ministry said in a an e-mailed statement.

The decline was predominantly led by the services sector coinciding with the Easter week, which sees Spaniards taking holiday breaks prompting a pick-up in seasonal hiring to cope with increased demand. The sector was “very dynamic” in the month, Deputy Social Security Minister Tomas Burgos said at a press conference in Madrid.

Over the last 12 months, joblessness has fallen by about 357,000, taking the total number of unemployed Spaniards to 4.09 million, the Ministry said. Meanwhile, social security affiliations -- a measure for new staff -- rose by 138,086 for the month, taking the total to 17.3 million registered as working, still below pre-crisis levels.

The data come as lawmakers in Madrid struggle to piece together a working coalition following December’s vote. The nation faces a May 2 deadline to form a government before new elections must be called. The new ballot would take place in June with polls showing the incumbent People’s Party leading, but still short of a majority in a fragmented four-party parliament.

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