The unemployment rate in Spain declined in Q2 as businesses recruited additional staff as coronavirus restrictions eased.

This is according to official data published by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

The unemployment rate dropped to 15.26% between April and June compared to the first quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted the rate would fall to 15.10%.

Spain’s unemployment rate remains far above the 13.78% from Q4 2019 before the pandemic hit the country. By the end of this year, the government forecasts the unemployment rate to decline to 15% and to 14% in 2022, according to a statement from Economy Minister Nadia Calviño earlier this week.

During the second quarter some 465,000 new jobs were added, underscoring the improvement within the economy from the 0.4% contraction in the first quarter, as restrictions were stepped up in an attempt to contain a new wave of Covid cases.

The unemployment data didn’t take into account the hundreds of thousands of workers on the state-supported furlough scheme since the start of the coronavirus crisis. Many of those previously on furlough are now going back to work.

Moreover, earlier this week the government confirmed its economic growth forecast for 2021. The Cabinet said GDP will grow 6.5% this year and 7% in 2022, in line with past forecasts. 

Calviño added: “In 2022, Spain will recover its pre-pandemic activity and in 2023, it will return to the path of growth we had before the health crisis.”

However, the International Monetary Fund’s growth forecast for Spain stands at 6.2% for this year and 5.8% for 2022, reports El País.

This makes Spain the advanced economy to grow the most next year following the biggest setback last year when output plummeted 10.8%.

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