The Balearic economy was dealt another blow yesterday with the announcement that unemployment had soared by 58 percent in November, compared to the national average which rose by just over two percent. The announcement came just 24 hours after 5'000 people marched through the streets of Manacor protesting at the planned job cuts at pearls company, Majorica The number of people claiming benefit rose by 12'000 in November, (compared to October) bringing the total jobless level up to 33'000 people, according to official figures. November is always a bad month with most hotels closing for the winter but this year there have been a series of other job losses as a result of the economic slowdown following the attacks on September 11. The male unemployment stands at just under 13'000 people (an increase of 4'200 on October 2001) while female unemployment stands at 20'000 (an increase of 7'726). Unemployment within the agriculture industry rose by 16 percent, in industry by 9 percent, in construction by 3.5 percent and services (which includes the hotel trade) by 72 percent. The jobless rate of people under the age of 25 stands at just under 3'000 (an increase of 70 percent). The official figures issued by the Ministry for Employment make disturbing reading for the local authorities and show that the economic slowdown could be more pronounced than initially envisaged. The local government has already been forced to reduce its economic growth forecasts for next year. The tourist industry, by far the largest employer in the Balearics, fears that the fall-out from the New York attacks will have dire consequences for the local economy and could lead to a substantial drop in tourism next summer. So far the tour firms are saying that the market conditions are extremely difficult.
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