Christine M. Watterson Maó
At the end of December 2008 the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Menorca had risen by 1,727 compared to the figure twelve months earlier, an increase of 41.9%. The total number of people out of work stood at 5,894 according to statistics released by the Regional Department of Labour and Training.
The report also showed that in the Balearic Islands as a whole the level of unemployment had risen by 46.6% in the same period, with a total of 73,298 people without jobs.
Unemployment levels have increased across the board but particularly amongst the male population, non-EU foreigners, first-time employees and in the construction and industrial sectors.
Within the island, Maó and Alaior saw the greatest increases in unemployment over the last year, at 51.6% and 46.3% respectively; in fact, Maó is the only district in the Balearic Islands to have registered a higher percentage than the average for the autonomous community, with construction and services being the most affected sectors.
The number of foreigners out of work in Maó has increased dramatically and, now, one in every three people claiming unemployment benefit in the municipal district is a foreigner (10% higher than the overall figures for the island).
However, in the municipality of Es Migjorn Gran foreigners account for 41.5% of the unemployed (the highest percentage on the island) although the overall increase is the lowest on the island at 20.3%, with Ferreries at 22.3% being the next least affected. The key to the last two statistics lies in the construction sector which has seen an increase of 84% in the number of unemployed island wide, but only 45% in Ferreries and, in Es Migjorn Gran, the trend has actually been reversed with 6% fewer being out of work in the sector.
Fewer new work contracts
The number of new work contracts drawn up in Menorca last year dropped by 14%, which is higher than the Balearic average of 13.3%. However, the proportion of indefinite contracts compared to seasonal contracts rose slightly.
In total, 28,708 new contracts were signed in 2008, 4,600 fewer than the previous year; a decrease on a par with that registered in Mallorca but higher than in Ibiza or Formentera (the latter being the only island to see an actual increase in the number of contracts).
Again construction and industry have been the sectors which have been the most affected, with decreases of around 24.5%, while the services sector showed a drop of 10.6%.
However, there were exceptions to the negative trend with rises in the industrial sector in Es Castell (2.2%) and Ferreries (35.5%), the services sector in Sant Lluís (0.7%) and in the island's agricultural sector, 29%.