Spain's economy gains traction

Madrid, May 31 (IANS/EFE) The pace of contraction in Spain's economy slowed in the first quarter, with the gross domestic product (GDP) falling just 0.50 percent, compared to the previous quarter, thanks to stabilizing consumer spending and business investment, the National Statistics Institute, or INE, said Thursday.

GDP contracted 2 percent on a year-on-year basis due to a drop of 4.9 percent in consumer spending and a gain of 2.9 percent from the export sector, the INE said.

Employment fell at an annualized rate of 4.5 percent, or two-tenths of a percentage point more than in the fourth quarter of 2012, translating into a net drop of approximately 761,000 full-time jobs in one year, the INE said.

Consumer spending gained some traction, falling only 0.40 percent after dropping 1.9 percent in the previous quarter, and offsetting the weakness in imports.

--IANS/EFE

rd