In a sign that Spain’s economy is improving, the country’s birth rate went up in 2014 for the first time in five years.

The figures from the National Statistics Institute released on Monday say that 426,303 babies were born last year, 588 – or 0.1 percent – more than in 2013.

The institute said 519,779 babies were born in 2008, the highest number in 30 years. Since then, the number has fallen by 18 percent.

The five-year decline roughly coincided with the economic crisis that lashed Spain after 2008.

The economy emerged from a double-dip recession only at the end of 2013 and is growing again, although unemployment is still at 24 percent.

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