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By Humphrey Carter PALMA

THE service and retail sectors are continuing to suffer, as this newspaper reported yesterday, but the Balearic employment market bucked the national trend last months and posted the only reduction of unemployment in Spain.

Albeit a slight fall in jobless of 562, the Confederation of the Balearic Business Associations (CAEB) yesterday said they welcomed the figures claiming that they indicate a general slowing down in the rate of unemployment and possible revival in the job market.

At the end of last month, the official number of people out of work was 90'026 although the union disagrees claiming that the total number of the active population out of work remains above the 100'000 mark because many have signed off from the social security because of the frustration at the lack of jobs.

They have turned to the apparently growing black market to make a living.
And, compared to February last year, there are 15'659 more people out of work, nearly 22 percent more. The national picture paints a rather gloomier picture.

Spanish jobless claims continued to rise in February as one of Europe's worst economic downturns continued, central government data showed yesterday.