The International Monetary Fund may have sighted some green shoots of recovery in Spain - but the country's unemployment rate has risen above 26%, according to official figures. Data published yesterday by Spain's statistics office show a further 198,900 jobs were lost in 2013. The total number of unemployed is now 5.9 million. Although unemployment fell by 65,000 last year, the percentage has risen because the working age population has fallen by 267,900, through retirement or migration. About 260,000 people left Spain in 2013, around 40,000 of them Spanish nationals, the rest departing foreign migrants. Migrants have been hard hit by the economic crisis in Spain, with an unemployment rate of 36% compared with 24% for Spanish nationals. Youth unemployment is down at 55%, a fall explained by young people either returning to education or leaving the country. The Bank of Spain estimates that GDP fell by 1.2% in 2013. The unemployment update came as data showed that the eurozone's private sector started 2014 in better shape than expected, with stronger growth across the region marred only by a downturn in France . Markit's Flash Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which gauges business activity across thousands of companies and is seen as a good guide to economic health, jumped to 53 in January from 52 last month. Any reading over 50 denotes growth and the January result is the best since 2011. The German PMI rose to a 31-month high, while France showed activity contracting for the third month in a row. The upturn was broad based, with growth in both the services and manufacturing industries, and the data comes after Ireland and Spain saw strong demand for their bonds this month. According to the latest Spanish jobs figures, agricultural jobs increased by 85,300 while in the service sector they fell by 109,100, with 35,200 lost in construction and 6,000 in manufacturing. Part-time jobs increased by 140,400 and full-time declined by 339,300. The main effect of the government's labour reforms has been an increase in those in part-time work, which now accounts for 16% of the total. The World Bank ranks Spain 142nd out of 189 countries for ease of starting a business (six places down on 2013). Long-term unemployment has led to an increase in the number of people who are no longer entitled to benefits. There are now 686,600 households in which none of their members has an income of any kind. Thursday's figures were met with official silence in Madrid . But in an interview with El Pais , the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, Olli Rehn , said that in Spain the EU had tried to combine the goal of solvent public finances with economic reforms. "There were no easy alternatives for Spain nor for anyone. Those that think there was a simple way to recover access to the markets without painful measures are wrong," Rehn told the paper. "It will take 10 years to fix the Spanish crisis."
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