Black Friday kicks off the shopping season. | Teresa Ayuga

Black Friday kicks off the shopping season that will cover Christmas and the January sales. But employers in the Balearics aren't anticipating bumper sales and nor are they taking on large numbers of additional staff.

According to the Adecco recruitment group, the Balearics will have the fewest job contracts in the country. The total is put at 2,200, lower than certain regions with smaller populations - Asturias, some 100,000 fewer people but with 10,500 contracts, and Cantabria, a population of almost 600,000 but with 22,500 jobs.

The president of the Afedeco retailers' association, Toni Gayà, attributes this low level of employment to the lingering consequences of the pandemic, which affected the Balearics more than most regions because of the dependence on tourism. Shops suffered two summers with sales well below average and are having to pay off loans that were needed to survive the pandemic. Over the 2022 summer, he explains, businesses were paying off their debts, "but they are trying to get through the winter without too much additional expense, waiting for next summer to continue paying off the debts".

Jordi Mora, president of the Pimem federation of small to medium-sized business associations, points to the negative impact of inflation and the rise in interest rates. These are the main factors that are reducing consumers' spending power. "We had a record summer, but the Christmas campaign will be a little below that of 2019."

Miquel Mateu of the Pimem-Comerç retailers says that price rises and general uncertainty are "worrying". "But until the sales season has finished, it will be difficult to make assessments."

For Spain as a whole, there will be just over one million job contracts for the season. These aren't solely jobs related to retail, as they also include hospitality and agriculture.