STAFF REPORTER PALMA

THE Balearic government has welcomed central government's new range of tax breaks to encourage hiring young people and the long-term unemployed in a bid to lower the 43 percent youth jobless rate.

Companies will get a reduction of 75 percent to 100 percent in social-security taxes for offering part-time work to people up to 30 years old and the long-term jobless, Labour Minister Valeriano Gomez said.

The incentives last a year in an attempt to spur employment in 2011.
A new subsidy will be created for unemployed workers in training, Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told the briefing. The programme will cost 400 million euros, with spending cuts from other ministries funding half of that amount.

The subsidies will last six months and the budget won't be exceeded, the ministers said.

Spain's unemployment rate is the highest in the European Union at 20 percent, rising to 43 percent among people younger than 25, after a decade-long construction boom lured Spaniards out of school and into building jobs. The collapse of the debt- fueled boom pushed Spain into its worst economic slump in six decades, swelling the budget deficit to the third largest in the euro region.