The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Spain fell in June as employers embarked on a hiring spree to prepare for the country's busy summer tourism season.

Spain's Labor Ministry is reporting that the number of those receiving jobless benefits fell by nearly 99,000 to 4.6 million people. It was the third straight monthly decline.

The ministry said in a statement Tuesday that the decline in those getting benefits was the largest drop for June ever recorded.

The nation's unemployment rate is released separately and quarterly. It stood at 24.4 per cent at the end of March - the highest rate among the 17 nations that use the euro. Spain's jobless rate is 52 per cent for those under age 25.

Source: Associated Press