Spain jobless rate spikes again as tourist season ends

Spain's jobless rate rose further in September as services sector layoffs accelerated at the end of a busy summer tourist season, suggesting one in four of the country's workforce is now unemployed.

Tuesday's Labour Ministry data showed the jobless rate rose by 1.7 percent to leave 4.7 million people out of work.

The figure had also risen in August after it fell during the summer season.

"There is a certain slowing down in the rate of increase in unemployment but the negative side is that jobs are still disappearing," said Estefania Ponte, head of economy at trading house Cortal Consors.

She said Tuesday's monthly figures suggested the rate of unemployment in Spain - already the highest in the European Union - would likely have hit 25 percent in the third quarter.

Monthly jobless data records the number of Spaniards registered as out of work, while the unemployment rate, which hit a record high of 24.6 percent in the second quarter, is an official survey and considered a more reliable gauge of the jobs market.

"(Tuesday's) figures added to the rise in VAT (from September 1)suggest consumer spending will continue at very low levels during the third quarter and above all in the last quarter of the year," Ponte said.

The data showed that the bulk of job losses were in the services sector, which covers hotels and restaurants most affected by the tourism trade.

(Reporting by Sarah Morris and Manuel Ruiz; Editing by John Stonestreet)