Spain's unemployment rate drops to 21.2 percent as government gears up for December election

Official figures show that Spain's unemployment rate dropped further in the third-quarter, a development the conservative government will be hoping will help in secure a victory in December's general election.

The National Statistics Institute said Thursday that the number of people out of work dropped by 298,200 between July and September to a rounded total of 4.9 million. That took the rate down to 21.2 percent from 22.4 percent in the previous quarter.

Unemployment rocketed in Spain after the 2008 global financial crisis but the economy started growing solidly last year.

The country is now the European Union's leading job-creator, although its unemployment rate is the second highest in the 28-country bloc after Greece.

The ruling Popular Party is hoping the recovery will boost its fortunes at Dec. 20's election.