The turbulent summer season not only saw tourism figures fall but the number of jobless rise and there are fears that the Balearic unemployment figures could hit 80'000 by Christmas. The biggest victims of job cuts and the shrinking labour market are immigrant workers. The unemployment figures for the summer show that one in five people signing on for benefit are immigrants and two out of every three are non European Union residents. Considering that only ten per cent of the work force in the Balearics are foreign, in June, for example, 20 per cent of the unemployed looking for work were non European Union residents. The figures also show that the unemployment rate amongst the foreign section of the community is twice the rate in the Spanish population in the Balearics. The rate of unemployment in the non-European Union immigrant population is also twice that of their European Union colleagues resident in the islands. The nationality hardest hit in June was the Moroccan, with 832 losing their jobs, but the Germans and British now account for the second highest number of unemployed residents, the three nationalities account for 39 per cent of non-Spanish unemployed. One of the problems facing the non-EU immigrant population is that they are not as mobile as Spanish nationals who, if losing their job in the Balearics, can easily move somewhere else in Spanish or even the European Union. The former Minister for Labour, Eberhard Grosske, who stepped down this week, warned last month that unemployment is on the rise as the local economy slows down and the jobless figures for this month and next could spell disaster with scores of hotels and related businesses in the resorts closing and activity in the construction sector continuing to fall because of the building moratoriums enforced by the local authorities. Union bosses claimed only this week that the hotel sector employed near record numbers this summer, around 95'000 people. Now over half the hotel sector is closing, so a potential 40'000 face losing their jobs before Christmas.


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