Spain's jobless rate has dropped to its lowest level in over three years in the second quarter. As Tim Graham reports it's a boost to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as he seeks to persuade voters that an economic recovery is taking root.
They say bad things come in threes. For Spaniards wilting in their third heatwave of the summer, that could ring true. But there's another 'three' that's painting a much brighter picture... Spain's jobless rate has dipped almost one and half percent to its lowest level in more than three years. It's the latest sign of an economy on the mend. But with unemployment still at 22.4 percent, higher than anywhere else in Europe except Greece, challenges lie ahead... says JP Morgan's David Stubbs (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVID STUBBS, SAYING: "They still have a massive hole to climb out of in terms of their unemployment and their economy in general. But it's extremely positive what's happening there on the economic front. In many ways they look like Ireland did only a couple of years ago, they seem to be following Ireland out of the austerity morass. Most of the indicators are improving now." 142-thousand jobs were created in Spain between April and June, thanks to the summer hiring season. With an election later this year, and the new leftist party Podemos gaining traction, the figures are timely for Spain's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy... who pledged to end this term in office with fewer people out of work. With corruption scandals and unpopular austerity measures having hurt Rajoy's People's Party, there are questions about whether it's done enough to retain power. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVID STUBBS, SAYING: "I'm not sure if they'll still be the current government or not, but I think that centralist parties will probably hold the reins of power after the election. I'm not sure that the more radical elements will be able to win out, given the turmoil we've seen in Greece at the same time as the improvement in Spain." Many Spaniards say they're yet to feel the benefits of the recovery. Wages have dropped, and even as more jobs are created, many are temporary and precarious. But in the tourism sector, the good times keep rolling. Sun-seekers from Europe and the US are feeding the economic rebound... A record 29.2 million foreign visitors came to Spain in the first half of the year. That's four percent more than during the same time last year. After so long in the shade, Spain's economy is getting its time in the sun once again.