Official statistics show the number of people out of work in Spain dropped by nearly half a million last year, further evidence of the country's resurging economy.

The National Statistics Institute said Thursday that 471,100 fewer people were unemployed at the end of 2017, making for a rounded total of 3.76 million. The unemployment rate finished at 16.6 percent, compared with 18.6 percent at the end of 2016.

The figure is still the second-highest rate in the 28-country European Union behind Greece.

Unemployment in Spain peaked at 27 percent in 2013 before it began to emerge from a severe five-year financial crisis

The institute said the jobless number rose by 34,900 in the final quarter, raising the overall rate to 16.6 percent from 16.4 percent in the third quarter.