MADRID (AP) - Spain's prime minister has promised a 1 percent pay rise for Spain's 2.5 million civil servants in 2016, their first hike in five years after public spending was reined in because of the country's economic crisis.

MADRID (AP) Spain's prime minister has promised a 1 percent pay rise for Spain's 2.5 million civil servants in 2016, their first hike in five years after public spending was reined in because of the country's economic crisis.

Mariano Rajoy said Friday the improving economy made recompense possible for the sacrifices made by civil servants.

The measure comes as Rajoy's Popular Party prepares for general elections by the end of the year.

Spain was battered by the global financial crisis and only emerged from a double-dip recession at the end of 2013. It still has a 22.4 percent unemployment rate, the second highest in the European Union after Greece.

Figures released Thursday show the economy grew 1 percent in the second quarter, its eighth consecutive quarterly growth figure.