Spain's economy set to expand 3.1 pct in 2015, but reforms needed to lower jobless rate

The International Monetary Fund says Spain's economy is expanding rapidly and is set to grow 3.1 percent this year but that additional labor reforms are needed to bring down sky-high unemployment.

The IMF says Spain's growth spurt following bruising hardship from 2008-2013 should continue in 2016 with economic expansion of 2.5 percent.

But the report issued Monday highlighted Spain's high unemployment rate of nearly 24 percent, and a rate twice that for workers under age 25.

The IMF urged Spain's government to enact more labor reforms to lower the jobless rate.

It says Spain has created 500,000 jobs over the last year following labor reforms making it easier and cheaper to hire and fire workers.

But the IMF added that 5 million workers remain unemployed, many of them young adults.