By Humphrey Carter
DESPITE building moratoria and a series of measures to try and cap the construction boom, over the past six years, the number of construction companies in the Balearics has grown by 51 percent. In 1999, when the anti-building left wing coalition lost the election to the Partido Popular, the construction sector was made up of 9.443 businesses but by the end of October this year, the construction sector was 14.300 businesses-strong and continuing to grow. Despite a wide ranging series of building freezes, the only period when there was a down-turn, growth in the sector fell to just under five percent, in the construction sectors was 2002 and 2003 - the remaining years were boom years for builders and affiliated businesses. The moratoria appear to have no effect at all on the region's construction sector. While houses and apartment blocks, have continued to be built, the present government has embarked on an enormous plan to improve the transport sector which involved new motorways, wider roads, extended rail network and the metro - all good and long term contracts for the regional construction industry. The region's economy has proved too strong for the moratoria to take a hold and stop building.
Bar the tourismled service sector, over the past few years, since the change in regional government, the construction sector has been the most active industry. Of the 87.0124 businesses in the Balearics, nearly half, 46.831 are in the service sector.
This is another area which has enjoyed steady growth since 1999 when there were 33.091 service sector businesses.
Over the past six years, the industry has grown by 33 percent with a real boom reported in 2004 when the service sector grew by 15 percent.
But while construction and the service sectors have never known it so good, the region's industrial sector has remained stagnant since 1999 with little or no growth at all. Over the past six years the number of industrial sector companies has grown from 5.170 to 5.415, a mere 4.7 percent in comparison with the two big sectors. The commercial sector has performed slightly better in growing by nearly 10 percent.
In 1999, there were 18.618 commercial sector companies in the Balearics, today there are 20.477.
However, the latest commercial sector reports are not encouraging.
High street sales, in particular appear to have been gradually slowing down over the past 18 months and over the past year, 1.187 shops have closed in the Balearics with more closures feared once the festive season is over. Some retailers will take stock of what the market situation really is while others will gamble on a busy winter sales period and a significant revival in tourism next summer.


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