Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has predicted that the country’s economy, the fourth largest in the eurozone, could grow by 2.4% in 2015, raising the previous forecast of 2%.

During an annual ‘state of the nation’ debate in parliament, Rajoy said: “With this (new) forecast, we are clearly in the position to create over 500,000 jobs in 2015.”

The Spanish economy grew by 1.4% last year, due to a rise in private consumption, higher business investment and a recovery in the construction sector. It was Spain’s first full year of economic growth since the property crash of 2008, which has left one in four workers unemployed and put thousands of companies out of business.

Unemployment rate has started to fall but stood at 23.7% at the end of 2014, the second highest rate in the eurozone after Greece.