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STAFF REPORTER LAST month's minimal fall in unemployment across the Balearics may have given some sectors reasons to be positive but Palma continues to be the area worst hit by the credit crunch.

Unemployment in the capital was 60.15 percent up on February last year and government reports out yesterday showed that there were 29'629 without work last month, significantly higher than the 18'500 registered 12 months previously.

In fact numbers of jobless rose last month in all the municipalities of Majorca in comparison with February 2008, with the exception of Buger where 46 unemployed last year fell to 41 last month. Some areas experienced numbers of benefit claimants in excess of 100 percent such as Sant Joan (106.06%), Mancor (111.53%) and Lloret (119.35%).

Dole queue figures in municipalities around the island encompassing tourist zones have been steadily increasing over the year as is witnessed through a year-on-year comparison between February in 2008 and last month. Hence, the 3'050 out of work in Manacor is a 61.46% increase on 12 months ago; Son Servera has 1'061 claiming benefit (47.36% up); Ses Salines 315 jobless (75%); Calvia 3'298 (51.14%); and Alcudia 1'599 (35.70%).

A separate mention needs to be given to municipalities which for years now have been combining agricultural industries with tourism, such as is the case with Soller. Here 26.63 percent more people were out of work last month than they were a year ago, and in Valldemossa the increase in the number of unemployed rose 33.33 percent over the same twelve months. Such places have not escaped the financial crisis but the fact that there is some measure of alternative employment means that the upturn in the jobless figures are not as great as they might be in areas which depend solely on one form of income. But dole queues have not only got longer in tourist areas - the island's farming heartland of Es Raiguer is also counting the cost. Towns where local people depend on industry for their income have also felt the pinch, such as in Inca where the shoe manufacturing business has been a major employer for over a century.