STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
ONE in every five companies (20.7 percent) in the Balearics forecasts there will be less jobs during the third quarter of the year in comparison with the second, said the Majorcan Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

Research director, Cati Barcelo, presenting a report on Business Confidence on the Island said meanwhile that 76.6 percent of companies had reported they would keep the same number of staff but that only 2.7 percent said they would be needing more personnel.

Barcelo acknowledged that the job figures are “worrying” because at the height of the tourist season when it is normal to take on extra staff, “we have seen that the elimination of jobs has been accentuated during the second quarter of the year in the construction and service industries.” Barcelo said that in construction, the rate of job loss during the second quarter of this year (-21.5 percent) has doubled in comparison with the first quarter (-12 percent). During the first quarter of the year, the number of people out of work rose by an average of 23'000 every month, 156.9 percent more than during the same period in 2008. She furthered that the number of people working in the service industries fell between January and June this year by an average of -5 percent, leaving 352'100 people employed in this sector.

The situation will be delicate in the fourth quarter of the year warned Barcelo. She said that if the tourist season ends with construction still showing no signs of picking up, the issue of employment is going to be very serious and will have a direct affect on consumer spending. Joan Gual, President of the Majorcan Chamber of Commerce said that it is only tourism which remains the “great fortress” of the Balearic economy.

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