In July there were 89,253 employees registered with social security as "fijo discontinuo", in other words permanent employment contracts subject to seasonal lay-off. This was the highest number of such contracts in the Balearics and 11.5% more than in July 2017.
The increase, in the view of the regional government, marks an improvement in the general quality of employment. Nevertheless, there is much scope for even greater improvement. The main unions, CCOO and UGT, make the same point month after month - employment figures may appear to be good but the employment is far from being stable. Even so, the unions consider the July statistic to be positive.
The Confederation of Balearic Business Associations welcomes the trend towards improved employment stability but wants the government to facilitate it further. "At this stage of greater maturity, now is the time to introduce aspects of a more structural nature into the labour market," says its president Carmen Planas.
The employment minister Iago Negueruela, while understandably satisfied with the trend, recognises that permanent employment of this nature - 17% of people signed on with social security - is still far too low. This said, it was the highest percentage in the country.
There has been a recent change to the nature of fijo discontinuo working in that employees are tending to work for longer periods of the year. Linked with seasonal business and so therefore tourism, which was the reason the system was introduced in the first place, a lengthening of the tourism season has meant more months of work. This is beneficial to employees with these contracts. The more they work, the more they can claim in the form of benefit for the months they are laid off.
Historically, the work was for six months and no more. This is still the case, but it is less so than in the past. As an indication of the longer working and also of an increase in the number of fijo discontinuo contracts, in March of this year there were 44,696 fijo discontinuo employees back at work. In the same of month of 2016 there were 36,583. January tells a similar story but on the basis of much lower numbers - 14,505 this year and 12,500 in 2016.
The July figure for all permanent employees was 263,313. This was 42,000 more than had been the case prior to the onset of economic crisis. In all, there were 579,762 people signed on with social security.