The number of Spaniards officially registered as unemployed rose to 4.98 million in January, according to Labour Ministry data, as the country\'s recession deepened. The number of officially unemployed in the eurozone\'s fourth-largest economy rose by 2.7 percent or 132,055 people over the month. Separate data released last month showed Spain\'s unemployment rate shot to 26.02 percent in the fourth quarter -- the highest level since the re-birth of Spanish democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975 -- as 5.97 million people sought in vain for work. The Labour Ministry said January was traditionally a difficult month in the Spanish labour market, with the increase in the number in unemployed down compared to the 177,470 thrown out of work in January 2012. \"The rate of the annual increase, which nearly hit 13 percent in May 2012, has continued to descend since that date and is now situated near 8 percent,\" junior labour minister Engracia Hidalgo said in a statement. However data released last week showed that the recession which started in the final months of 2011 has accelerated, with Spain\'s economy shrinking at the fastest pace in more than three years in the final quarter of 2012. Total economic output slumped 0.7 percent from the previous quarter, the steepest decline since the second quarter of 2009, after a 0.3-percent dip the previous quarter, the National Statistics Institute said.