The number of people filing claims for unemployment benefits in Spain has dropped for the third straight month, falling by 20,784 in July, according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Work on Tuesday.

The total number of people claiming benefits stood at 3,544,095, still a much higher figure than other much larger European economies like Germany.

Much of the drop is attributed to the government’s stimulus plan which employs thousands across the peninsula in public projects such as road building works.

Employment Secretary General Maravillas Rojo said in a statement, that its “possible unemployment will behave differently in the next few months, but if it rises, we don’t expect it will do so at the same rate seen in the last few months of last year,” she said.

The statement leaves the door open for a potentially worsening scenario towards the end of the year.

The current unemployment rate in Spain which is not provided on a monthly basis, stood at 17.9 per cent at the end of June, the highest in the EU. The European Union estimates Spanish unemployment reached 18.1 percent in June, more than double the 27-member-region average.