PALMA AND MADRID
THE Balearic and central governments are proclaiming that the unemployment market has bottomed out and is continuing to pick up. The unions, meanwhile, are arguing the complete opposite.
Here in the Balearics, the number of people registered as out of work dropped for the seventh consecutive month in July - the first time this has happened since 2006.
But. the month-on-month decline of 2.4 percent is not enough to convince the main unions that the Balearic economy is picking up, that the tourist industry is out performing last year and that unemployment is going to continue to fall.
The unions, which, using Active Population figures, are claiming there are more like 100'000 people out of work in the Balearics, and fear that, once the summer season is over, people will begin losing their seasonal jobs again.
A quick fix, is how the unions see the current situation and certainly not as an indication that the local economy is picking up.
According to the Balearic government, there are 72'115 people registered as unemployed but, as the unions continue to point out, many have either lost their entitlement to benefit and therefore signed off and, despite the discrepancies in the figures, the Balearic government did admit yesterday that even their figures are still too high.
But, the rate of job creations in the Balearics is higher than the national average.
Nationally, Spain's registered jobless total fell for the fourth straight month in July by 1.85 percent from June, the Labour Ministry said yesterday, as the busy tourist season provided a boost to employment.
Spanish unemployment has more than doubled in the last two years after the collapse of the construction industry on the back of a burst property bubble.
Sinking consumer confidence left Spaniards cutting back on visits to shops and restaurants.
Spanish registered jobless fell by 20'794 workers in July from June though was up 10.3 percent from the same month last year, the government data showed.
The number of jobless in July stood at 3.91 million, down from 3.98 million in June. Over the last three months joblessness has fallen by over 35'000, which is a good trend. But a jobless rate of nearly 4 million will continue to weigh on growth performance for a significant amount of time, said Silvio Peruzzo, economist at RBS.
The data showed the biggest July fall in numbers out of work since 1998, suggesting prospects were improving from a low base.
However, Peruzzo said the summer seasonal boost may not last. We have to be cautious given the data are not seasonally adjusted, he said.
Unemployment fell in all Spain's major economic sectors, down 2.6 percent in industry, 2.2 percent in construction and 1.9 percent in services, which accounted for the largest part of July's fall.
The monthly data does not offer an overall unemployment rate and only reports the number of workers registered with the government as out of work.
The unemployment rate reported by the National Statistics Institute, a more accurate measurement of the nation's unemployed, stood at 20.09 percent in the second quarter.