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(Reuters) -Spain’s unemployment rate rose to 12.87% in the fourth quarter of 2022 from 12.67% three months earlier, data from the National Statistics Institute showed on Thursday, pushing the number of unemployed people above the 3 million threshold.

However, the unemployment rate during the quarter was the lowest in a fourth quarter since 2008, the report showed.

The number of unemployed people rose to 3.02 million, up from 2.98 million three months earlier, while the number of employed people fell 82,000 during the quarter, when traditionally companies in the tourism and retail industries hire more people.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast Spain’s unemployment rate would fall to 12.50%. The rate was 13.33% in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The unemployment rate had continuously declined since hitting a peak of 16.26% in the third quarter of 2020 during the pandemic.

The weaker than expected employment data doesn’t bode well for fourth-quarter economic growth data due on Friday, although Prime Minister Sanchez has recently said the country’s economy expanded a faster than expected 5% in 2022.

(Reporting by Marta Serafinko; Editing by Inti Landauro and Christina Fincher)


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