The employment situation is improving but it is very much linked to seasonal demand. | Gemma Andreu

One of the main unions, CCOO, has welcomed as positive the latest unemployment figures for the Balearics. This fell by 11% in the first quarter of the year. There were 12,300 fewer people unemployed compared with January to March in 2016, giving a total of 98,500 unemployed. This figure was swollen, though, by an increase of 20% over the final quarter of 2016. This added 16,700 to the unemployment register. The total number of people in employment was 489,500, a fall of 0.3% compared with the first quarter last year and of 4.3% over October to December.

Although she considered this reduction to be positive, the CCOO's secretary for occupation and training, Yolanda Calvo, pointed to the 98,500 unemployed as still being "very high" for the Balearics. While in a quantitative sense, the reduction was good, in a qualitative way the statistics are not as good as they seem. Job insecurity, she observed, continues to be an issue. The precariousness of employment lies with the number of temporary contracts, which don't give employment stability, and with part-time working.

Calvo highlighted the labour market's heavy dependence on tourism. Although the tourism season is lengthening, it is still "seasonal", with a concentration of jobs from June to September. Moreover, the number of jobs cannot disguise the amounts people earn. "We are talking about miserable salaries and people still being unable to make ends meet and so having to ask charities to help with the costs of everyday life."

Ahead of Labour Day on 1 May, Calvo urged people to take to the streets in support of this year's theme. "There are no excuses for demanding stable employment, fair wages, decent pensions and greater social protection."

Nationally, unemployment rose by 0.4% (compared with the final quarter of 2016) to give a total of 4,255,000 or 18.75% of the working population.