Spain jobless rate falls to 7-year low of 18.6 percent

Official figures show that Spain's unemployment rate edged down to a seven-year low of 18.6 percent at the end of 2016.

The National Statistics Institute said Thursday that the number of people out of work fell by 83,000 in the October to December period to 4.2 million.

The institute said that over the year, the unemployment rate dropped by 2.3 percentage points.

Despite recent improvements, Spain still has the second-highest unemployment rate in the 28-country European Union behind Greece.

Spain's unemployment peaked at 27 percent in 2013 just before it began to emerge from a severe five-year financial crisis.

The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has made reducing unemployment rate and boosting economic growth its main goals since taking office in 2011.