IT'S not going to be a very happy New Year for the Balearic economy, it is on course for the fourth consecutive year of poor growth, way below the national average . The latest report presented by the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations (CAEB) yesterday shows that, this year, the Balearic economy has so far grown by just 0.3 per cent. However, CAEB president Josep Oliver is relatively up beat about the future. The Balearic economy is showing signs of a recovery, although we're not out of the doldrums yet, he said yesterday. While Balearic economic growth is again below the national Spanish average, it is on par with the average of most other Euro zone countries. Last year's economic performance was one of the worst since the start of the 80*s, but this year's current growth rate of 0.3 percent is well short of last year's 0.6 percent . The decline in tourism and construction were blamed for slowing the economy down last year. The service sector is expected to post a growth figure of 0.3 percent for this year, but the industrial and construction sectors will have slowed by 0.1 and 0.2 percent respectively. The agricultural sector, while not having been hit by drought or freak weather this year, has again been hit by the Blue Tongue virus, the effect of which has yet to be calculated. Oliver explained yesterday that Majorca's economy has performed best this year, primarily because of the revival in tourism, but Minorca and Ibiza had struggled. However, overall he sees a three percent increase in revenue from tourism because of the 5'4 percent increase in Balearic airport passengers.
Oliver pointed out that, as a direct consequence of the near stagnant economy, the employment market has been slow. The construction industry for example, has laid off 3.3 percent of its work force this year and unemployment has risen sharply also because of an increase in people coming to the Balearics looking for work.