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Spain sees slight increase in first quarter jobless rate

Spain's high unemployment rose slightly in the first quarter, official figures showSpain’s high unemployment rose slightly in the first quarter, official data showed Thursday, a reminder in an election year of the challenges the country faces as it seeks to cement a fragile economic recovery. The jobless rate rose to 23.78 percent, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE), up from 23.7 percent in the previous quarter. The increase is a blow for Spain’s conservative government as it prepares for municipal and regional elections next month and general elections by the end of the year. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has repeatedly said creating jobs is his top priority after pushing through labour market reforms, reducing a budget gap and rescuing the country’s teetering banks.

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