Spain raised its growth forecast for this year and next and said unemployment would ease by two percentage points in 2015 as the economic recovery gathers pace. 

The finance ministry published forecasts of 1.3% growth for 2014 and 2%for 2015, raising earlier estimates of 1.2% for this year and 1.8% for next year. 

It said it expected Spain's unemployment rate to ease to 24.2% this year and to 22.2% in 2015. Currently at 24.47%, Spain's unemployment rate is the second highest in the euro zone after bailed-out Greece. 

The ministry said it expected the country to create 622,000 jobs in 2014 and 2015, after six years of job destruction sparked by the collapse of a construction boom in 2008. 

"This improvement comes despite a less favourable economic climate, particularly in the euro zone," it said in a statement. 

"The recovery of the Spanish economy is strengthening, with higher growth than that of the countries in the single currency zone," it added.

The government published the new forecasts after a cabinet meeting at which it approved the country's 2015 budget.