Palma.—The official monthly unemployment figures were published by the Ministry for Employment and Social Security yesterday and it was more grim reading for the Balearics.

While last week's Active Population Figures from the national statistics institute, which is considered the benchmark, revealed that there are over 145'000 people out of work in the region, yesterday's government figures relate directly to the number of people officially registered as unemployed with the dole office and are claiming benefits.

Nevertheless, 840 have lost their jobs since the start of the year taking the government's official jobless total to 98'927 in the Balearics, nearly nine percent higher than January last year and another alarming record.

Jobs destroyed
With 8'201 more people out of work than this time last year the unions have called for an urgent meeting with the Balearics government and other local social and economic entities to try and address the record high level of unemployment in the region.

The UGT General Workers' Union's Manuel Pelarda said that after four months of consecutive increases in unemployment it is high time the government starts taking proactive action. “We need the government to be taking emergency action because jobs are not being created, they are in fact being destroyed and until jobs are being created again and the rate of unemployment is brought under control, the region's debts and deficit will never be cleared,” he said.

The Balearic government's Director general for Employment, Joana Maria Camps, was forced to admit that the latest set of figures “are not good.” However, she expressed her confidence that the employment market will begin to pick up from 2013, but for many that might be too late. She went on to say that the forthcoming labour reforms will serve to improve the situation and that the rate of unemployment will gradually begin to slow down over the course of this year.

The local government is also looking forward to the start of the tourist season, which should start early this year with Easter falling at the beginning of April, because that will serve to get thousands of people back into work, albeit for the season.