Greek unemployment rate hits record high of 26.8%

6 Jun 13
Greece’s jobless rate continued its steady increase in March, reaching a record 26.8%, the Greek Statistical Authority revealed today.

The figure, which is adjusted to take into account seasonal factors such as temporary employment over the summer, compares with 26.7% the previous month.

More than 1.3 million Greeks were registered unemployed at the end of March, over three times as many as before the financial crisis hit. In March 2008, there were 390,000 jobless and the unemployment rate was 7.9%.

Since then Greece has embarked on a strict austerity programme to meet the terms of the bailout of its economy by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The combined total of unemployed and economically inactive people at the end of March was just below 4.7 million, comfortably in excess of the 3.6 million Greeks in employment. People are classed as inactive if they do not work and are not looking for a job.

The number of Greeks registered unemployed increased over 215,000 in the 12 months to the end of March – an increase of almost one fifth, with 4,626 people becoming losing their jobs over the course of March itself.

Greek’s youth unemployment rate did, however, fall in March, with 58.4% of 15–24 year olds out of work, compared with a record 64.2% the previous month.

Today’s figures mean Greece’s unemployment rate was the highest in the European Union in March – narrowly above the 26.7% recorded by Spain. It was significantly in excess of the eurozone average of 12.1% and the EU average of 11%.

Greece’s figures are published separately to those for the rest of the EU, which are compiled by the Eurostat statistical service. Its figures for April, published last week, showed Spain’s jobless rate increased to 26.8% last month and the eurozone average crept up to 12.2%.

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