The first quarter of the year is traditionally a tougher one for jobs, as people hired over the Christmas period get laid off.
The number of jobless people increased by 17.2 thousand, or 0.4 percent, from the previous quarter to 4.26 million as unemployment grew in all sectors, mainly in services (104.8 thousand). The largest increases occurred in Catalonia (18.2 thousand), Balearic Islands (16.7 thousand) and Galacia (12.9 thousand).
The number of employed decreased by 69.8 thousand, or 0.4 percent, from the previous quarter to 18.44 million, as employment in the private sector dropped sharply by 57.6 thousand and in the public sector it fell by 12.3 thousand. Among sectors, jobs fell in services (-94.7 thousand) and in industry (-8.2 thousand) but increased in both agriculture (31 thousand) and construction (2.1 thousand). By region, the largest decreases in the quarter were reported in Valencia (-29.3 thousand), Balearic Islands (-22.1 thousand) and Canarias (-16.6 thousand).
The number of active population went down by 52.6 thousand to 22.693 million, as the number of active men fell by 27.9 thousand while the number of active women went up by 24.7 thousand. The labor force participation rate decreased to 58.78 percent.
A year earlier, the unemployment rate was recorded at 21.0 percent.
Unemployment has been falling since the jobless rate hit a high of 27 percent in 2013. Still, Spain has the second highest unemployment rate in the EU after Greece.