STAFF REPORTER THE economic crisis has meant closure for over 2'700 businesses in the Balearic Islands particularly in the Commerce sector. According to a Balearic Employment and Social Security watchdog yesterday, the number of companies with employees signed up to Social Security has fallen by 2'709, falling from 50'531 in April 2008 to 47'822 in the same month this year.

Affliliation, has however risen in the Agrarian sector and in Household industries. Experts believe this is a positive sign showing that the crisis is not affecting all areas of the economy to the same degree and that there are some that are maintaining the same level of productivity and staffing levels.

Still awaiting reports for the month of May this year which will be available in the coming days, the Employment and Social Security watchdog said there is nevertheless a clear trend showing that closures which started to register last autumn are still continuing. In September of last year, there were 867 less companies providing employment than there were 12 months previously, declining from 53'174 operational businesses in 2008 to 52'307 in 2007.

Another factor to take into consideration, said the watchdog was a downturn in the number of self-employed who in many cases run a company with themselves as the only member of staff. Reports for April 2009 indicate that their numbers have declined since April 2008 by -4'251 (-4.80 percent), sliding from 88'381 to 84'130. The President of the Balearic Self-Employed Association, Jaume Sitjar, confirmed yesterday that his members need government help to see their way through the crisis. “The problem lies in providing guarantees in order to get credit,” he said. “We've also got a cash flow problem because local government, especially town councils, are notoriously slow in paying their bills,” Sitjar claimed.

So far as the numbers of self-employed foreign residents in the Balearics is concerned, they fell by 4.4 percent during the first quarter of this year, as they did in all regions of Spain. The highest downturns were noted in Castilla-La Mancha (15.1%); La Rioja (12.6%); and Aragon (10.1%).

The Balearic government has set up various measures to tackle the economic crisis, rising unemployment and business closure in the Islands but in spite of a job restart programme, there will be a further wave of jobless in the Balearics after the end of the summer when seasonal workers are once more without work.