Spain’s unemployment rate dropped at the end of 2017 while several key macroeconomic factors also improved, the National Statistics Institute said Wednesday.

The figures were led by a 290,193 drop among the registered unemployed in Spain, now totaling 3,412,781, the lowest since 2008 according to Ministry of Work figures.

The statistics indicate the number of registered unemployed in Dec. 2017 fell by 61,500 people compared to the previous month, reversing an eight-year negative historical trend.

On its official Twitter account, Spain's Ministry of Work said the average number of "new social security system affiliates in Dec. 2017 showed the second best overall monthly results since Dec 2008, with a total of 18,460,201 registered workers."

The number of people that in Nov. 2017 could no longer claim unemployment benefits rose to 42.1 percent of the total registered unemployed, according to the same source.

The economic sectors driving Spain's 2017 annual job creation were services (153,252 persons), construction (61,742), industry (39,008), first-time job seekers (21,927) and farming (14,264).

The largest drops by regions took place in Andalucía (57,713), Catalonia (35,627) and Madrid (35,401).

The number of work contracts issued in 2017 was 21,501,303, although nine out of ten were of a temporal nature (19.57 million) and only 1.9 were long-term contracts, although they remain the best figures in a decade, according to the government.

Another good result was the 4.64 billion euros ($5.5 billion) spent by foreign tourists last November, a 10.3 percent increase, year on year, according to the Spanish statistical office (INE).

During the first 11 months of 2017, foreign tourists spent in Spain 82.3 billion euros, a 12.9 percent increase, year-on-year, heralding a new record figure, even without accounting for the Dec. 2017 monthly figures, and demolishes the previous 2016 tourist spending record of 77.62 billion euros.

The main contributors to this tourist spending spree in Nov. were the United Kingdom (17.9 percent), Germany (13.3) and the Scandinavian nations: Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden- (12).

Top tourist spending rose 14.8 percent in the Canary Islands, 21.5 in Madrid but dropped 4.2 in Catalonia.

Overall, the biggest holiday spenders in Spain during the first 11 months of 2017 were the United Kingdom (20.2 percent), followed by Germany (14.2) and France (8.15).