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STAFF REPORTER PALMA

UNEMPLOYMENT in the Balearic Islands fell for the fifth consecutive month in May this year and at the same time, more jobs were taken up than anywhere else in the country, the regional government said yesterday.

Strategic Planning Director, Llorenc Pou said that there were an extra 35'323 people working in May in the Islands in comparison with the previous month of April, a month-on-month rise of 8.7 percent. Pou expressed his satisfaction with the results and claimed that the region was “well on the way” to shortening its dole queues and creating jobs.

At the end of May, he reported, there were 6'469 less people claiming unemployment benefit than there had been in April, a downturn of -7.6 percent. Despite the fact that there were still 77.795 people registered as jobless, the fall in unemployment figures was the highest anywhere in Spain.

In percentage terms, the drop in the numbers of jobless in the Balearics was much greater than the national month-on-month average which was just 1.84 percent. Put more simply, one in every eleven people who managed to secure a job in Spain last month, did so in the Balearic Islands. Further data in the government report showed that every one in three people signed up to Social Security is registered in the Balearics Pou said he saw evidence that because unemployment figures - particularly in the hostelry and construction industries - had now been falling for five consecutive months, there was “a change of scene” happening in the region. A similar pattern of events, said Pou, has not happened for four years, since 2006.

He added that it was the Balearic tourist industry which was proving a robust defence against the economic crisis. With the key client markets of the United Kingdom and Germany emerging from recession, visitors to the Islands are now boosting the service industries just at a time when support is most needed, explained Pou. The Director said that be believed that labour reform being undertaken by Central Government will further help in job creation.