A man wearing protective gloves takes photos of an information board outside a government employment center closed to the public during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain , April 28, 2020. REUTERS / Susana Vera

MADRID, Nov. 3 (Reuters) – Spain’s labor market remained resilient in October, official data showed on Wednesday, with unemployment down slightly and a surge in job creation in a month typically marked by rising unemployment at the end of the summer tourist season.

The hospitality sector led job creation, accounting for just over 25,000 of the 102,474 jobs created during the month, according to data from the Social Security Ministry, continuing a wave of hiring in bars and restaurants observed in the third quarter.

After a dismal summer for tourism last year, widespread vaccinations and looser restrictions have allowed a temporary recovery this year.

Some 4.7 million foreign travelers visited in September, four times more than last year but about half of pre-pandemic levels, with numbers continuing to hold up later in the season as restrictions s also relax elsewhere, which makes the holidays more appealing.

Speaking on Cadena Ser Radio, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino called the latest employment statistics “very positive”.

“We expect this trend to continue to accelerate during the month of November,” she said, adding that employment had returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The number of registered job seekers edged down 0.02% from September, according to data from the Ministry of Labor, slowing sharply from declines in previous months, but marking the first drop in unemployment in October since 1975 .

By sector, unemployment fell in services, construction and industry but jumped 5.1% in agriculture, according to the data.

Overall, some 3.26 million people remain unemployed, about 570,000 fewer than a year ago. Third-quarter employment data released last week showed more than 20 million people were working in Spain for the first time since 2008.

Despite optimism over strong employment figures, Spain’s economic recovery looks more fragile than previously thought.

Third-quarter economic growth fell short of expectations after a weak second quarter and inflation is at its highest level in three decades, potentially jeopardizing the government’s goal of returning to pre-production levels pandemic by the end of the year.

Reporting by Nathan Allen, Aida Pelaez-Fernandez and Belén Carreño; Editing by Inti Landauro and Alison Williams

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