The Balearics is starting to feel the full force of the current global crisis with unemployment starting to spiral out of control. Last month, October, the number of jobless in the Balearics rose by an alarming 28.59 percent nine times the national average of 3.56 per cent in comparison to unemployment in September. Director general of the Balearic Islands Employment Service, Pere Mascaro, tried to play down the situation, explaining that at the end of the day, unemployment in the region is still the lowest in Spain with 5.98 per cent of the active population out of work. Mascaro added that the sharp rise is “normal,” coinciding with the end of the summer tourist season. However, of the 14 autonomous communities which witnessed an increase in unemployment last month, none of the rises were as dramatic as in the Balearics. Cantabria in Northern Spain posted the second sharpest increase in unemployment, just over seven per cent. Only in the Canaries, Valencia and Navarra did the unemployment figures fall. By the end of last month, the INEM unemployment office was dealing with 4.266 new people out of work in the Balearics compared to September. The number of jobless in the region is now 20.884; and rising. Compared to October last year, the figure is up by 2.116, just over 11 per cent. October has been a month notorious for a sharp rise in unemployment, as Mascaro said, because of the end of the tourist season. But this year, jobs are at risk at the Majorica factory in Manacor, airline Air Europa is laying of staff and state carrier Iberia has still yet to announce the true extent of its job cuts in the Balearics. Yesterday there were long queues of people outside the INEM offices. Women have been the biggest losers, the number of unemployed females went up by 34.22 per cent last month with 3.153 women losing their jobs. By comparison, 1.490 men lost their jobs. The only sector which saw unemployment fall, albeit slightly, was the construction industry which created 55 new jobs.

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