Palma.—For the first time since 2007, the eve of the recession, unemployment in January fell last month in the Balearics, although the rest of the country continues to grapple with runaway record jobless.

Last month, the number of people out of work in the region fell by 326 with the official total of registered people out of work standing at 95'509 at the end of last month.

And, year-on-year, the rate of unemployment in the Balearics is 3.46 percent lower with 3'418 fewer people out of work this January than in January last year.

The figures have obviously been welcomed by the local government, but the unions are very skeptical and deeply concerned about the sharp rise in the number of people either no longer entitled to unemployment benefit or have signed off and are working on the booming black market.

The government's director general for Economy and Statistics, Joana Aina Perello, said yesterday that the government is much more optimistic than it was three months ago, but “it is continuing to be prudent because despite the fall in the official number of people out or work, there are still 95'000 unemployed and that is a lot of people.” However, the Partido Popular's parliamentary spokesperson Mabel Cabrer was more up beat proclaiming that the figures indicate that the Balearics “is one of the first regions of Spain to start emerging from the recession.” She said that the government has clearly laid down the correct road map and will continue to follow it, adding that private investment in the Balearics is significantly helping to create new jobs. “These figures mean that we have got to keep on working, more than ever, because the figures are getting more positive and the general public are beginning to see that our policies are serious and always have been right from the start,” Cabrer said.

But, the latest figures have not pleased everyone.
The unions and the opposition political parties claim that the main reasons for the slight fall in the number of unemployed is because of the mass exodus of immigrants who are returning home and the growing number of young professionals who are leaving the region in search of employment in countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany. According to the Socialists, jobs are continuing to be destroyed in the Balearics with more businesses, especially in the retail sector closing down. “Just look at the high streets, jobs can't be being created,” said a Socialist spokesperson yesterday.
And, as the latest Active Population Figures have shown, the true figure for the number of people out of work in the Balearics is much higher because the data released yesterday only applies to those officially registered as out of work.

The latest APF report reveals that there are nearly 159'000 actively looking for work in the Balearics, the region's economy is certainly not out of the woods yet and there will be little movement until May when all of the resorts and hotels will finally be open. Nevertheless, the Balearics did buck the national trend last month.

The number of Spaniards officially registered as unemployed rose to 4.98 million in January, as the country's recession deepened.
The number of officially unemployed in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy rose by 2.7 percent or 132'055 people over the month.
Separate data released last month showed Spain's unemployment rate shot to 26.02 percent in the fourth quarter -- the highest level since the re-birth of Spanish democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975 -- as 5.97 million people sought in vain for work.