(UPI) -- Spain has emerged from recession after gross domestic product (GDP) grew for first time in more than two years, according to the Bank of Spain.
Between July and September, Spain's GDP grew by 0.1 percent, according to central bank estimates, though it was still 1.2 percent lower than the same period last year. The country's National Statistics agency (INE) will release third quarter GDP data on October 31.
The Bank of Spain said the economy was strengthened by an increase in exports in the last quarter.
"The slight recovery in activity in the third quarter after the fall a quarter earlier is due to... a more favourable contribution from the external sector," the bank said in its monthly statement.
Spain has struggled since the credit crisis of 2008, and after the country's housing bubble burst, despite government bank bailouts, the country dipped back into recession and the unemployment rate remains one of the highest in Europe at more than 26 percent.
The country's austerity measures prompted widespread protests last year, but with the end of the recession near, officials are saying austerity paid off.
In the quarter ending in September, the decline in employment slowed “significantly” to 0.1 percent during peak tourism season, the Bank of Spain said. The number of tourist visits for the nine-month period through September reached 48.8 million, the highest level since at least 2000.