Spanish unemployment has recorded the sharpest drop since the country adopted the euro in 1999, in a further sign the economy is managing to get a hold on its joblessness problem.
There was a fall of more than 253,000 in registered unemployment from December 2013 to December 2014, an annual decrease of 5.39pc and the biggest since the country joined the eurozone, according to government figures.
Monthly jobless claims also fell by 64,405 for the last month of the year, representing the second largest December decrease on record.
Meanwhile, the number of people registering as in work rose by 417,000 in 2014 compared, the first annual increase since 2007.
Total employment in the country currently stands at 16.8 million.
The Spanish economy has been undergoing a process of labour market reforms in a bid to boost its competitiveness and stimulate growth after years of recession.
Spain posted positive growth for the first time in over two years in the second half of 2013 and is expected to grow by 1.6 pc in 2015, according to the OECD.
However, unemployment continues to be stubbornly high, and at 23.7pc is still the second worst in the single currency area after Greece.
Spain’s deputy labour minister Engracia Hidalgo said the numbers were evidence the country’s labour market reforms, which make it easier for companies to hire and fire employees, are beginning to bear fruit.
The biggest fall in unemployment came in the services sector where joblessness was down by 65,275 people, or 2.2pc. Unemployment rose in the construction and industrial sectors.