Summer jobs help bring Spain's jobless rate down to 20 pct

MADRID (AP) " Spain's unemployment rate dropped to 20 percent in the second quarter from 20.9 percent in the previous three-month period, official figures showed Thursday, offering some positive news for acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as he tries to stay in office following a second inconclusive election last month.

The National Statistics Institute said the number of people out of work fell by 216,700 in April through June to a rounded total of 4.6 million. Summer jobs in tourism and hostelry traditionally boost figures in the second quarter.

It was the first time the rate had dropped to 20 percent since 2010.

Acting Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said he was confident the figure would drop below 20 percent by the year's end and Spain would have 20 million people employed as planned by 2019, up from 18 million at the moment.

The institute said the jobless rate for people under 25 years of age remained at a high 46 percent.

The announcement came as King Felipe VI wrapped up talks with political party leaders aimed at finding one with enough parliamentary support to form a government and avoid a third election.

Rajoy's conservative Popular Party, which is running a caretaker government since the first inconclusive elections Dec. 20, has made reducing unemployment one of its priorities in government since 2011 but Spain's unemployment rate remains the second-highest in the European Union after Greece.

Unemployment soared after the 2008 global financial crisis but the economy started growing solidly in 2014. The country is now a leading EU job-creator.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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