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Spain eyes pre-pandemic employment levels by year-end as job market firms

Spain could return to pre-pandemic levels of employment by the end of 2021, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said on Monday, shortly after official data showed jobless figures had fallen in September for the seventh consecutive month.

Eased COVID-19 restrictions helped propel a resurgence in hiring that began in March, leading jobless claims to fall 2.28% in September from the previous month, according to the data from the Labour Ministry.

“Everything points to a recovery of the employment figures we had before the pandemic, maybe even before the end of the year,” Minister Calvino told COPE radio.

Separate data from the Social Security Ministry showed Spain added 82,184 jobs in September, accelerating slightly from August but well below the bonanza 200,000 positions added in June ahead of the summer tourist season.

The number of people supported by Spain’s national furlough scheme fell by 33,000 to just below 240,000, a tiny fraction of the 3.6 million reached during the first wave of coronavirus devastation in April 2020.

However, there are still 3.26 million people out of work, almost 200,000 more than in September 2019.

And revised economic data showed Spain’s second-quarter output was less than half the initial estimate, raising questions about the durability of the economic recovery and forcing the central bank to revise its forecasts.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in Gdansk and Inti Landauro in Madrid; Editing by Nathan Allen and Alex Richardson)

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