MADRID (Reuters) – More than three quarters of Spain’s furloughed workers have returned to work since April, data from the Social Security Ministry showed on Friday, as the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy posted robust job-creation and unemployment figures.

Some 83,529 people left the ERTE furlough scheme in September, leaving 728,909 workers still enrolled, the data showed. That is 76% lower than the April peak, when more than 3 million people were supported by the programme.

Some 84,013 net jobs were added in September, an increase of 0.45% from August and the fifth consecutive month of job creation.

Over the same period, the number of people registering as jobless fell by 0.69%, or 26,329 people, leaving 3.8 million people out of work, according to the Labour Ministry.

Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz said it was the largest drop in jobless numbers recorded in September since 1996.

“These data show a positive trend in a still uncertain pandemic scenario,” she tweeted.

Unemployment had risen by 0.79% in August as new outbreaks of the coronavirus and travel restrictions imposed by other countries began taking a toll after months of timid recovery from an initial lockdown.

However, around 450,000 jobs were destroyed compared to September 2019.

(Reporting by Joao Manuel Mauricio in Gdansk and Nathan Allen in Madrid; Editing by Belen Carreno and Ingrid Melander)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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