Palma.—With unemployment in the Balearic Islands having reportedly fallen last month by 0.72 percent in comparison with figures for June this year, Economy and Statistics Director Maria Teresa Palmer said that the regional government saw the development as an encouraging sign.

But she added that people securing more jobs was attributable specifically to the tourist season rather than reflecting a concrete recovery in regional employment. “In order to achieve the latter, we're going to have to work very hard indeed,” she insisted.

Research showed that in fact the Balearics and the Canary Islands were the only two regions of the country where year-on-year unemployment figures had fallen last month.

Palmer pointed out however, that the census of the working population published last Friday had shown discouraging news, i.e. that the number of people gainfully employed in the Balearics over the past year had fallen by -2.03 percent (12'300 people) in comparison to the increase registered for the country as a whole (+0.06 percent), with 14'400 more people in jobs.

Asked about job growth during the coming winter months, Palmer said that the steps that the new regional government was taking to put its financial house in order will “contribute greatly” to creating employment. “Cutting public spending costs will mean that the private sector can be given the resources to create jobs,” she said.

Meanwhile, Josep Oliver, the President of the Balearic Business Confederation (CAEB) echoed Palmer's welcome of the fall in unemployment last month which was a 1.57 percent downturn on figures for the same month last year. He said that although the region was benefiting from a busy tourist season, it nevertheless meant that job-wise the Balearics was faring better than the rest of the country. “Although we're still behind hotel occupancy levels that we enjoyed before the crisis,” said Oliver, “we're not far off it.” He said that further proof of an improved economy was the fact that there has been an increase in the number of people registered as self-employed, up +0.31 percent in the Balearics but down -0.15 percent in the rest of the country.

The Unions however have been more sceptical over the falling unemployment in the Islands, with the Workers Commission (CCOO) saying yesterday that they were more cautious about the July report than the government. “There's still no hard evidence of economic recovery,” said a spokesman “and it has to be remembered that those people who have jobs during the summer are off the unemployment register at the moment, but they'll be back on it during the winter.” The CCOO could not deny however that July has been the fourth consecutive month when the number of jobless has declined, nor that 75 percent of the job recovery has been amongst the foreign population of the region.