Palma.—The latest figures relate to the active population in the Balearics, as opposed to merely those officially registered as unemployed with the dole office and have set alarm bells ringing with the unions launching a scathing attack of the local government for having failed to turn the employment market and the economy around since it came to power last May.

Despite the upturn in tourism last year, it does not have appeared to improved people's job prospects.
2011 closed with 18 percent, 20'000, more people out of work than 2010 and what is even more concerning is that unemployment rose more in the Balearics during the final quarter of last year than any where else in Spain.

2011 was the fifth consecutive year that the number of people out of work in the islands has increased.
2006 was the last year in which the number of jobless dropped when the figures fell by 4'700.
Since then, the number of people out of work has risen by 16'700 in 2007, 20'500 in 2008 when the global economy crashed, 42'900 in 2009 when the global financial crisis really took a grip and 16'200 in 2010.

Ironically, the Balearics, per capita, has the largest active population in Spain but there just are not the jobs and the local government is desperate to attract private investment in order to try and solve the crisis.

Nationally, the Spanish government confirmed yesterday that its jobless rate shot to a 17-year record high of 22.85 percent at the end of 2011, the highest in the industrialised world, as unemployment punched above five million.

The news made grim reading for Spaniards, who face the prospect of recession in 2012 with jobless numbers likely rising even further as national and regional governments axe spending.

The number of unemployed burst through the five-million mark, surging 295'300 to 5.27 million in the last quarter of 2011, the National Statistics Institute report showed.

Highest level
As a result, the jobless rate hit the highest level since the first quarter of 1995, rising to 22.85 percent at the end of the year from 21.52 percent the previous quarter.

Young people were hit especially hard, with more than half of 16-24 year olds -- 51.4 percent -- out of work on December 31 compared with 45.8 percent on September 30.

It makes a stark contrast from the heady days of Spain's property boom, when the unemployment rate fell to just 7.95 percent in 2007.
The 2008 property bubble collapse and global financial crisis destroyed millions of jobs, left banks with huge bad loans, and Spain's national and regional governments with big debts.

The country's new right-leaning Popular Party government is now struggling to slash a bloated public deficit so as to escape a crisis of confidence in eurozone sovereign debt.

But that cost-cutting opens the prospect of more job losses this year.


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