Staff reporter THE Spanish economy grew by 2 percent in 2002, a point below its normal rate, reflecting a period of slow acceleration in the employment growth rate. The Economic and Social Advisory Board (CES) yesterday presented a report on socio-economic and employment trends during 2002. Nevertheless, the document indicated that the economic growth rate in Spain maintained higher levels than half of Europe, in spite of international uncertainty. he Advisory Board highlighted the fact that the primary and industrial sectors reduced their contribution to the Gross Product of the Balearics during the last fiscal year, while construction and service sectors registered a “positive” growth. he self-governing regions of Spain that witnessed most growth in 2002 were Andalucia and Madrid, whilst the Balearics in contrast remained adversely affected by the drop in tourism, above all due to the German economic crisis. Regarding prices, the report explained that in 2002 the rise in indirect taxes, the introduction of the Euro (the rounding up effect), and above all, the catastrophe of the wrecked oil tanker “Prestige” negatively affected the rate of inflation. n the public sector, “zero deficit” was achieved in the year 2002 but according to Maximino Carpio, one of the authors of the report and a senior figure in central government's tax administration, “it's not the right moment to become obsessed with balancing the budget at a time when the growth rate of the Gross Product of the Baleares is under par.” Another of the report's authors, Francisco Moraleda, comments that growth in employment figures at the beginning of the fiscal year was “poor” but in the last quarter, a “measured recovery” had been registered. He also noted that 2003 is “maintaining this trend of recovery”. According to Moraleda, job losses were experienced in the primary and industrial sectors whilst growth occurred in the service sector promoting 3.2 percent more jobs, and in the construction industry, 3.4 percent. Furthermore, regional differences remained the same, although in all Spain's self-governing regions, positive growth rates in employment were in evidence except in Catalunya “because of its industrial burden”, clarified Moraleda.

Nevertheless, unemployment rose in all places in Spain with the exception of Madrid and the Basque Country.
In 2002, the Social and Economic Advisory Board reported significant growth in employment figures for women, one percent more than the previous year while that for men only reached 0.2 percent.