SPAIN’S unemployment rate has dropped to a seven-year low of 18.6 percent at the end of 2016, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).
It is the lowest level since the last quarter of 2009. However, it still the second highest in the European Union, after Greece.
The number of people out of work fell by 83,000 in the October-December period, to 4.2 million.
But the jobless rate for under 25s remains high at 43 percent.
Tourism has played a big part in the improving unemployment figures.
Spain hosted a record number of foreign visitors last year as holidaymakers stayed away from resorts in other destinations over terrorism fears.
Speaking on Onda Cero radio, prime minister Rajoy said Spain had created 1.75 million jobs since 2013.
He said that at the current rate of creating some 450,000 jobs a year, Spain is on track to have a pledged 20 million people employed in 2020, up from 18.5 million at the end of 2016.
“There’s a lot to be done but five consecutive years of crisis can’t be resolved in a quarter of an hour,” Rajoy said.