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Spain's jobless rate edges up to 25.9 pct in first quarter despite signs of economic recovery

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MADRID - Spain's National Statistics Institute says the unemployment rate edged up to 25.9 per cent in the first three months of the year from 25.7 per cent in the previous quarter, a sign the recovery is still weak.

The institute said Tuesday the number of people out of work fell by 2,300 in the January-March period, leaving the total number of unemployed at a rounded 5.9 million.

The overall percentage figure, however, increased because of a drop in the total number of people eligible to be employed.

Spain is battling to recover from two recessions, the last of which ended last year. The Bank of Spain estimates the economy expanded by 0.4 per cent in the first quarter, the fastest growth in six years.

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