Spain's unemployment rate edged down to 20.9 percent in the fourth quarter from 21.2 percent the previous quarter, positive news for the acting ruling Popular Party as it struggles to form a new government following last month's inconclusive election.

The National Statistics Institute said Thursday that the number of people out of work dropped by 71,300 October through December to a rounded total of 4.8 million.

Over the year, the number of people without jobs dropped by a record 678,200.

The Popular Party hopes its record on creating jobs can help it stay in office but so far it has failed to garner the necessary support from other parties to secure the task.

Spain's unemployment rate remains the second-highest in European Union after Greece.