Spain's newly-appointed Economy Minister Luis de Guindos says the country will record negative growth in the fourth quarter of 2011, and it will slide back into recession early next year. "This quarter the Spanish economy will surely see a downturn and we will return to negative growth," Guindos said during a news conference on Monday. “Make no mistake, the next two months are not going to be easy, neither from a growth nor a jobs point of view," he added. Guindos also said the new government must quickly act to reconstruct banks and restore confidence in the economy among other things. Last month, the conservative Popular Party headed by Mariano Rajoy won a parliamentary election, defeating the Socialists led by Prime Minister Rodrigues Zapatero. Newly-elected Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has already unveiled his first package of budget cuts and tough economic reforms as part of an effort to save Spain's economy. People across the country have protested against the measures on various occasions. Many Spaniards blame the government for their hardships, stressing that authorities have failed to properly address the country's economic situation. With 4.9 million unemployed people, Spain has the highest jobless rate of 21.3 percent in the eurozone. Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, destroying millions of jobs. The worsening eurozone debt crisis has raised Spain's financing costs and created fears that the European country might have to seek an EU bailout like Greece.