Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said the 2013 unemployment rate would come in below the 27.1 percent forecast in an economic stability program sent to Brussels in April, while also predicting the country would emerge from recession in the second half of the year.
In an interview with Efe, the minister said he was confident the drop in the jobless rate in the second quarter - to 26.2 percent - would not be a seasonable blip but rather the start of a downward trend to be continued in the coming months.
"Although we still don't have net job creation in seasonally adjusted terms, we think we're very close to that," De Guindos said.
The International Monetary Fund and other organizations say that amid sky-high unemployment Spain needs a more aggressive labor overhaul to bring salaries down further and make it even easier for companies to fire workers.
De Guindos, however, put the emphasis on labor changes achieved thus far, saying wage moderation was having a clear impact in increasing competiveness and halting job destruction.
He also predicted that Spain's economy, buoyed by a dynamic tourism sector and higher exports, would emerge from recession in the second half of the year. EFE