People wait in line at a government employment office
Madrid - AFP
The number of registered unemployed fell in Spain for the fifth straight month in June, government data showed Thursday, but the country continues to battle one of the highest jobless rates in Europe.
Jobless claims declined last month by 94,727 or 2.25 percent to 4.12 million, the labour ministry said in a statement.
The number of people without work fell across all sectors except for agriculture and in every region although the majority of new jobs were on short-term contracts.
June is traditionally a relatively strong month for the Spanish jobs market, as retailers, restaurants and other service providers bolster their staff for the busy summer tourist season.
The number of registered unemployed was down by 329,397 or 7.4 percent over June 2014.
The labour ministry's monthly figure is a different measure from the quarterly unemployment rate, which is based on surveys and stood at 23.78 percent in the first quarter, according to the National Statistic Institute.
Within the eurozone only Greece had a higher jobless rate, of 25.6 percent in March, the latest data available.
The institute, which includes in its estimate other job seekers who are not signed on for benefits, said there were 5.44 million unemployed in Spain at the end of March.
Spain returned to growth in 2014 with an expansion of 1.4 percent after five years of recession or stagnation following the collapse of a labour-intensive building boom in 2008.
Spain's conservative government, which is facing a year-end general election, earlier this year hiked its economic growth forecast to 2.9 percent for 2015 and 2016.
The government forecast the unemployment rate would fall to 22.1 percent in 2015.
Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said Monday that the government may raise its economic growth forecast once again.