Spain's Secretary of State for Employment Joaquín Pérez presented the figures. | Emilio Naranjo

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The Balearics leads the annual fall in unemployment, with 39,148 fewer unemployed than a year ago (-56.96% less) according to data published today by the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy.

Compared to April, unemployment fell by 5,712, representing a decrease of 13.36%.
The total number of people out of work in the Balearics now stands at 56,372.

Of the total number of unemployed 6,860 were foreigners, 66.08% less than a year ago and 19.18% less than a month ago. Of the total, 2,421 were from EU countries and 4,439 from non-EU countries.

By sectors, the most affected in the Balearics is the services sector (26,623 unemployed), followed by construction (4,659), industry (1,667) and agriculture (558).

At a national level, Spain's jobless number dropped below 3 million in May for the first time since early in the 2008/09 global financial crisis, as the economy's recovery from the impact of COVID-19 boosted hirings and pushed many workers out of the shadow economy.

The number of people registering as jobless fell 3.29% from April, leaving 2.92 million people out of work, the lowest number since November 2008.

Spain added 33,366 net jobs during the month, separate data from Social Security Ministry showed. The number of jobs in the formal economy had already hit an all-time record in April.

"We are seeing an extraordinary reduction in temporary ...jobs," Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva told state broadcaster TVE, while acknowledging that rising inflation and the knock-on effect of war in Ukraine was generates uncertainty.

The start of Spain's tourism season was a factor in the positive data. The industry generally accounts for around 12% of Spain's gross domestic product, and authorities expect tourism spending to return to pre-pandemic levels by year-end.

The number of people in official employment is now higher than when COVID-19 struck. The reason, according to labour experts, trade unionists, employers and workers interviewed by Reuters, is that a side-effect of the pandemic has been to shift many Spaniards out of the shadow economy and into regular employment.

Chief causes have been the declining use of cash as a result of pandemic-era hygiene measures, together with increased demand for contracts by workers who realised that going under the radar also meant missing out on furlough payments during lockdowns.