Spanish unemployment
People enter a government-run employment office in Madrid. (Reuters)

Spain's unemployment declined for the sixth straight month in August, fuelling hopes that the economy would soon emerge from recession.

The country's Labour Ministry said that the number of people registered as unemployed marginally declined by just 31 people to 4.7 million in August from the previous month. In July, unemployment declined by 64,900 people.

Over the last six months, unemployment declined by more than 340,000 people, the ministry said. In cumulative terms, unemployment has fallen by 149,940 people in the first eight months of 2013, the best figure recorded for the period since 1999.

By sector, unemployment in construction declined by 2,816 people or 0.41%, while it fell by 2,165 people or 1.10% in agriculture and fisheries.

In the services sector, joblessness increased by 10,743 people or 0.37% and it rose by 3,427 people or 0.66% in manufacturing.

Compared to July, unemployment among women fell by 1,260 people at 2.4 million in August. Meanwhile, joblessness among men has increased by 1,229 people at 2.3 million.

Registered unemployment among young people below the age of 25 declined by 29,957 people or 6.9% in the past 12 months, the ministry said.

Rising youth unemployment has been a looming problem for the Spanish economy. According to the latest Eurostat figures, the country has a youth jobless rate of 56.1%, with only Greece having a higher percentage at 62.9%.

Economic Outlook

Secretary of State for Employment, Engracia Hidalgo, said that the employment data enhances the credibility of the Spanish economy, along with other positive indicators.

Spain's GDP declined by 0.1% in the second quarter, according to the National Statistics Institute. Nevertheless, the country is expected to stabilise or grow by up to 0.2% in the third and fourth quarters.

On 2 September, a survey of the country's manufacturing sector by Markit Economics found that the sector recovered in August, recording the first monthly improvement since April 2011. The manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to 51.1 in August from 49.8 in July.

Spain's high jobless rate at more than 25% has been a headache for the authorities, despite improvements in other areas.

The International Monetary Fund earlier said that the countries high unemployment rate would stay for at least five more years. The fund noted that the country is on track to emerge from recession this year, but the country's unemployed amounting to 6 million would have little benefit from the growth.