Unemployment soars in November as slowdown starts to bite

The number of people seeking benefit at Job Centres in the Balearics rose last month by almost 11'000 people (compared to Octover, 2002) in another sign of the economic slowdown as a result of the inferior holiday season. Unemployment now stands at more than eight percent of the working population and there are now 36'000 people without jobs in the Balearics. The Ministry for Employment in Madrid said that unemployment in the islands had risen by a record 43 percent between October and November this year. However, this figure is symbolic because it takes into account the large number of hotels which closed in the Balearics at the end of October. But overall it still paints a depressing figure of the Balearic economy which is still one of the most buoyant in Spain. Broken down into the sexes there are now 15'500 men who are without work (a rise of 4'200 on October) and 20'778 women (a rise of 6'672). When compared to November 2001 the unemployment figures are given greater relevance as the jobless rate for men rose by 2'682 and for women 686. The government is also concerned at the growing number of young people who are without a job with thousands now claiming unemployment benefit. The Balearic government has attempted to create new jobs by part funding new investment in companies and other incentives. But the fact that there are over 36'000 people claiming dole over Christmas will come as a severe warning to everyone. The local ministry for the economy has already slashed their economic growth forecast for this year from four percent to two. “The government should be doing more to help companies,” said a local union spokesperson yesterday. This year the number of tourists coming to the Balearics is expected to fall by almost 800'000 this will naturally dent economic growth.

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