FXstreet.com (Barcelona) - The amount of laid off workers applying for unemployment benefits has increased in April at a fastest than expected pace, the claimant count rate, however remained at the same level than in March, and wages increased somewhat due to bonuses, according to the latest data by National Statistics.

The amount of unemployment benefits claimants has registered a net increase of 7,200 persons in April from March, instead of a slight increase of few hundreds expected by market analysts. The claimant count rate, nonetheless, remains unchanged at 2.5% of the workforce.

The Ilo unemployment rate has remained unchanged at 5.2% in the first quarter of the year, although the unemployment rate rose by 14,000 persons over the quarter.

Average earnings excluding bonuses have increased 3.8%, the same as in the previous month, while including bonuses, average earnings have risen 0.3% on the month to a 4.0% increase from the 3.7% increase posted in the Dec - Feb period.