Greek unemployment rate tops 25%

8 Nov 12
Greece’s unemployment rate increased to 25.4% in August with more than 1.2 million people out of work, according to official figures published today.

By Nick Mann | 8 November 2012

Greece’s unemployment rate increased to 25.4% in August with more than 1.2 million people out of work, according to official figures published today.

The latest data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority means Greece’s jobless rate has not fallen for 51 consecutive months since May 2008 when it was 7.3%.

More than half (58%) of Greek 15–24 year olds were out of work in August, compared with 19% when the economic crisis began in 2008, while almost one in three (29%) of Greek women of working age are now out of work.

The country now has the second highest unemployment rate in the European Union, behind Spain, which recorded 25.5% for August. The European Union average for the month was 10.6%, while the eurozone average was 11.5%.

Late last night the Greek Parliament narrowly passed a fresh batch of austerity measures which commentators have claimed could add to the jobless total. The €13.5bn package of spending cuts, tax rises and labour reforms is seen as crucial for the country to receive its next €31.5bn of bailout funds from international creditors.

Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras said the vote was a ‘big, decisive and optimistic step’ and pledged that the austerity package would be the ‘very last painful measures’, The Guardian reported. ‘If further fiscal adjustment is needed, it will come from clamping down on tax evasion and cutting public expenditure,’ he added.

However, the parliamentary debate that culminated in last night’s vote took place against a backdrop of violent clashes between police and demonstrators outside the Greek Parliament in Athens. And Alexis Tsipras, who heads the radical Left main opposition Syriza party, reportedly claimed the government was ‘leading Greek people to catastrophe and chaos’.

The prime minister had indicated that, without the latest tranche of bailout money, Greece would run out of money on November 16.

European finance minister were expected to approve the bailout when they meet on Monday, November 12. But it is understood they will not be able to do so unless they receive a report on the country’s austerity progress from the ‘troika’ – the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Any delay could result in the EU or ECB having to step in with interim funding.

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