Spanish jobless claims
Spanish jobless claims continue to rise, but slows down in February

The number of registered unemployed in recession-hit Spain has risen to a record five million in February, figures from the labour ministry have shown.

The number of unemployed jumped by 59,444 from January, taking the total number to 5.04 million. However, the monthly increase was the lowest since February 2008, signalling a job-market rebound in the country.

On a year-over-year basis, registered unemployment increased by 6.96 percent or 328,124 people in February.

Spain, which is trying hard to emerge from its second recession in about three years has recorded a jobless rate of 26 percent in the fourth quarter. The rate would rise to 27 percent in 2013, according to the EU forecast last month.

The economy is undergoing a double-dip recession following the collapse of the once-booming real estate sector.

In order to tackle the situation, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has ordered steep spending cuts and tax rises, as the country looks to save €150bn ($194bn, £130bn) between 2012 and 2014. The widened austerity measures have prompted mass protests across the country.

Recently, Deputy Economy Minister Fernando Jimenez Latorre said that Spain's recession will moderate in the first three months of 2013, following a 0.8 percent decline in economic output in the last quarter of 2012.

Nevertheless, the Bank of Spain was of the opinion that recession will extend to the first quarter due to weak domestic demand. The growth in exports has slowed down, while the key tourism industry was hurt by a decline in the number of tourists in recent months.