There was a time when Greece’s unemployment rate caught the media’s attention as it quadrupled from 7.3% in the third quarter of 2008 to the recent record high of 27.8% in the first quarter of 2014. There is less of a fuss these days, though.
As we have become accustomed to this record level of unemployment, there is also a tendency to overlook some of the data that lies behind the headline rate. One of the most significant numbers can be found when looking at the rate of long-term unemployed, which is those who have been out of work for more than 12 months.
Long-term unemployment is nothing new in Greece, which has had a long standing problem with this issue. The rate of Greeks without a job for more than a year ranged between 48 and 55% since Greece joined the euro in 2001. This affected approximately 250,000 people in the labour force. Long-term unemployment decelerated from 2007 onwards, with the total figure falling below 180,000 in the last quarter of 2008. As a percentage it dipped under 40% in the first quarter of 2009.
During the crisis, however, long-term unemployment has