Staff Reporter
THE number of unemployed in the Balearics leaped by 14'600 people in the first quarter this year, 36.72 percent over and above the figures registered for the previous three months.

The increase is the highest in any of Spain's regions, confirmed that National Institute of Statistics yesterday, bringing the total number of those (on the labour market) out of work in the Islands to 54'400 and the unemployment rate to 12.82 percent.

From January to March this year, the number of those in work on the Islands fell by 14.500 people (the second highest figure in Spain after Catalonia), 3.76 percent; whilst the number of those in the region with jobs totals 369'000. During the 3-month period, the number of people who secured employment grew by 200 in comparison with the previous quarter, resulting in the rate of employment in the context of the region's total working population standing at 60.22 percent, 1.4 percent more than in the first quarter of 2003 and the highest pro rata employment rate of any region in the country.

In the last 12 months, unemployment grew in the Balearics by 5'600 people (11.39 percent of the region's working population), in comparison with the 18'500 who became unemployed during this period at a national level (-0.85 percent).

Within the space of a year, however, 12'600 Island jobs were created, 3.52 percent more than in the first quarter of 2003. In year-on-year terms, active positions of work grew by 18'200, a growth of 4.47 percent, clearly higher than the 2.16 percent growth registered at a national level.

In the first quarter of 2004, the number of those out of work grew in the Balearics for both sexes in respect of the same period the previous year. The increase, however, was greater within the male popultion (4'700 more unemployed, reaching a total of 24'300). Amongst the female population (2'900 more unemployed, reaching 30'100). Nevertheless, figures for those managing to secure employment roes in both sexes: in men by 3'800 people (giving a total of 221'400 employed), and in women by 8'800 people (to reach 148'500 employed).

The unemployment rate amongst men rose by 1.7 percent in year-on-year terms, to stand at 9.89 percent, whilse the rate amongst women fell by 0.4 percent, to stand at 16.84 percent.

In Spain, unemployment rose by 37'100 people during the first quarter of the year, 1.74 percent over and above figures for the previous three months, leaving the total figure of unemployed (of the working population) at 2'164'100, and the rate of unemployment nudged up as far as 11.38 percent.

Nevertheless, in the last 12 months, the volume of unemployed dropped by 18'500 people, 0.85 percent, while 420'200 jobs were created, reducing the year-on-year employment growth rate by 4 decomal points to 2.56 percent. In relation to the previous quarter, the number of employed fell by 9'400 (-0.06 percent), resulting in the figure of those in employment at the end of March standing at 16'852'500.

Unemployment grew in almost equal figures for both sexes during the first quarter of the year in Spain, although it was slightly higher amonst the male population.


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