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By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE President of the Majorcan Chamber of Commerce, Joan Gual, yesterday expressed his confidence that the unemployment crisis in the Balearics “has bottomed out.” Commenting on Tuesday's unemployment figures for February, which showed that just 80 jobs has been lost in comparison to the previous month, Gual said that the employment will start to turn around now and that we will see a steady increase in the number of new jobs being created as the region begins to gear up for the looming tourist season.

He said that he welcomed the latest set of figures “at least it appears that unemployment is not going to rise any more,” he said as the total number of people out of work hit a record 74'367. “I think we've seen unemployment figures peak and the job market will start to come alive again over the coming weeks,” added Gual.
However, yesterday's Chamber of Commerce briefing was not all goods news.
While there maybe the signs of a few green shoots in the employment market, they may take the best part of all this year to flourish and bloom.
The Chamber of Commerce's head of research, Cati Barcelo, revealed that her department's latest economic studies indicate that the Balearic economy will decelerate and shrink at a rate of 1.5 percent this year and not grow by the 0.5 percent claimed by the Balearic government at the close of last year.

Apparently, nearly 57 percent of businesses in the Balearics are braced for a year of losses, although 38 percent are confident they will be able to consolidate business and match last year's figures and eight out of ten companies are determined to maintain their present staff levels.

Six out of ten also claim they are going to stick to their initial investment plans.
Gual said that recessions are not all about bad news.
He said that now is the time for business to consolidate and look for new markets, especially overseas.
Apparently the Balearic IT industry is looking to Chile and local food producers to South Korea.