This year, the average earner in the Balearics is expected to be spending over half of his or her wages on Christmas, but with a report released yesterday which indicates that average wages in the Balearics are 11'7 percent below the national average, this festive season may be a quiet one on local high streets with fuel prices, rising unemployment and mortgage hikes having already forced most people to tighten their belts. During the third financial quarter of this year, average wages actually increased by just over two percent, but the national average wage, according to the Industrial and Service Sector Wage Survey, is 231'969 pesetas per month, in the Balearics, the average earner is taking home 204'645 pesetas, of which 104'148 pesetas is expected to be spent on Christmas. But with the 2.4 per cent average wage increases being 1'3 percent below the rate of inflation, consumers are expected to sit tight on their money this festive season in the Balearics with economic growth forecast to slow down in the New Year. The largest wage rises have been in the construction industry, although the average wage is still the lowest at around 199'276 pesetas per month despite the extra 2'4 percent. But with the construction sector in the Balearics et to be worst hit by the economic meltdown, the expectations for the New Year are looking rather bleak.