Jan.03 - The number of people out of work in Spain fell by 1.2 percent in December, but there was still a large rise in the number of jobless people compared with a year before. Sonia Legg reports
1.2 per cent is today's daily digit in Europe - the amount unemployment in Spain fell by in December. The fall - the first in five months - was welcome, but the numbers remain a major concern for the government. Unemployment is far higher than it was a year ago. 4.8 million people - that's a quarter of the working population - are unable to find work. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ANTONIO PINO, MADRID RESIDENT, SAYING: "It is hard being told at the age of 57 that 42 years of social security contributions aren't going to earn you anything, you can imagine how I feel." The fall in unemployment was linked to an increase in service sector jobs in the run up to Christmas - and many of those were temporary. There's no sign of any improvement either - Spain's economy is expected to shrink by 1.5 percent this year as the country brings in 60 billion euros of budget cuts. Only Greece has a worse unemployment rate in Europe - at 26 percent - and it's been in recession for six years.