Unemployment in Spain has dropped to 18.5%, according to official figures released on Thursday. Data from the Spanish national statistics office's 'Encuesta de Población Activa' (active population survey) shows that there were 4,237,000 people out of work at the end of December, a fall of 541,700 from the year before and the lowest amount out of work since 2009. In total, 413,900 new jobs were created in 2016.
However, despite this being the fourth consecutive year in which unemployment fell, the decline was smaller than in 2015, when there was a fall of 678,200 in the number of jobless and 525,100 new jobs were created.
On a local level, unemployment fell by 78,000 over the past year in Andalucía. Despite this, the unemployment rate remains at 28% of the active population.
Within Malaga province, unemployment dropped 24,400 in a year to 190,000, its lowest level since 2008. The unemployment rate now stands at 25%. However, a reduction of 38,800 in the overall size of the active population means that there are now actually 10,400 fewer people working in Malaga than a year ago.
In Spain overall, the number of households where all members of working age and who are able to work were unemployed dropped by 50,500 in the third quarter of 2016 to 1,387,700.
In contrast, the number of households, including single-person homes, where everyone who is able to work has a job rose by 60,700, to 9,883,600.