MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's Economy Minister said on Wednesday that job creation in 2014 would be "significant" as a tentative economic recovery kicks in, but a poll showed most Spaniards do not expect any clear improvement until 2015.
"2014 will see the net creation of jobs, higher even than we predicted in September in the budget, and the jobless rate will fall," Luis de Guindos told Cadena Ser national radio, declining to put a number on expected jobs created.
Spain exited a recession in the third quarter of last year but the economy is still sickly and with unemployment officially predicted at 25.9 percent in 2014, roughly where it is now, there is little perception of a real recovery on the streets.
Separately on Wednesday, a poll of 1,000 people published in newspaper El Mundo showed that 71 percent of Spaniards believe the recovery and the end of the crisis will start in 2015 at the earliest.
The country is still reeling from a decade-long housing bubble which burst more than five years ago, forcing a 41-billion euro ($56 billion) bailout of the country's banks, which were glutted with property debt.
The center-right government decreed a labor market reform in late December to encourage employers to take on more part-time workers and to simplify contracting in hopes of fuelling job creation.
"We believe the labor reform will make the market more dynamic ... in 2014," Guindos said in the interview recorded a few days ago.
However one think tank has said the changes fail to tackle Spain's notoriously two-tiered labor market, with security for long-term fixed contracts and practically none for shorter-term ones.
Guindos added that the economic recovery would take root thanks to an expected tax reform which would look to reverse a personal income tax rise implemented when the government came to power in 2011, and cut corporate taxes while reducing corporate tax deductions.
(Reporting By Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by John Stonestreet)