By Humphrey Carter

THE number of people out of work in the Balearics rose by nearly 22 percent last month with the total number of unemployed nearly 54 percent higher than at the end of October last year.

The monthly increase was the highest in Spain with 10'175 people losing their jobs taking the total number of regional unemployed to 56.982 which is 19.882 higher than at the end of October last year and extremely worrying for the government.

The Balearic government is sticking by its end of year forecast of 80'000 unemployed, 13 percent of the active population in the Balearics, but union bosses repeated their warnings yesterday that the real figure is going to be well over 100'000 by Christmas because the number of new jobs being created and people finding work is slowing rapidly.

Last month, for example, 9'000 less new jobs were created than during October in 2007 and, year-on-year, the rate of job creation has shrunk by 20 percent with all of the three main Balearic islands, Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza posting similar unemployment figures.

Unemployment has risen by 55 percent in Majorca and 58 percent in Minorca while in Ibiza the increase of 46 percent has been slightly lower.
Across Spain, more than 6'000 people lost their jobs each day last month.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits has jumped to 2.8 million, the highest since 1996, the government reported yesterday in the latest devastating fallout from the international financial crisis.

Those claiming joblessness benefits rose by 192'658 in October, the Employment Ministry said.