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MADRID: Spain posted its sharpest ever monthly drop in jobless figures in May, the Labour Ministry said on Wednesday, marking the third month of falling unemployment as looser COVID-19 restrictions and rising vaccination rates buoyed the struggling economy.

“The data show a positive trend,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz told RAC radio. “But I don’t want to get distracted, there are more than 3 million people who are unemployed, there are many families having a hard time.”

Data from the ministry showed the number of people registering as jobless fell by 3.31% in May from the previous month, leaving 3.78 million people out of work. On an annual basis, there were 1.98% fewer people out of work than in last May.

Spain’s tourism-dependent economy crashed a record 10.8% in 2020, while tough measures to control new outbreaks stifled growth in the first months of this year, driving jobless claims above 4 million for the first time in five years in February.

But the latest data showed a broad-based decline in unemployment across all sectors and all regions, with the hard-hit services industry accounting for the bulk of the drop.

May is traditionally a strong month for the Spanish labour market, with many companies hiring staff ahead of the summer tourist season.

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