By Humphrey Carter and Paul Day

PALMA/MADRID
OFFICIAL unemployment figures were released by the government yesterday and they confirmed that 73'298 people in the Balearics spent Christmas on the dole and that the regional level of unemployment is well above the national average at 15.7 percent.

The figures sparked outrage from local union bosses who attacked for the Balearic government for failing to have launched an Employment Action plan, as promised, to try and tackle the worsening employment crises in the region.

The CC.OO Workers' Commission Secretary for Employment Rafel Borras hit out at his Left-wing colleagues in government for having failed the workforce and gone back on its pledge made on July 25 to enforce urgent measures to fight unemployment and help create jobs.

The government was also criticised for having allowed thousands of jobs to have been lost in the Balearic airline sector.
Nearly 50 percent more people were out of work in the Balearics at the end of last year than at the close of 2007 and yesterday, the Balearic government admitted that it does not see the situation improving until April, the start of the holiday season - something, however, which other parts of Spain are unable to look forward to.

Spain's number of jobless leapt more than expected in December to top three million for the first time in over 12 years and the government said unemployment would swell further in 2009.

The number of people out of work jumped by 139'694 people, the ninth straight month of increases, central government data showed yesterday.
The Employment Ministry's tally of 3.13 million jobless nearly matches totals in much larger economies such as Germany, where the December figure was 3.18 million.

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