Greek job­less rate jumps to al­most 16 pct

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

The coun­try’s un­em­ploy­ment rate jumped to al­most 16 per­cent in Fe­bru­ary, ad­vanc­ing for an eighth straight month, as Greece’s grow­ing army of job­less work­ers moved closer to the 800,000 mark, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased yes­ter­day.

The Hel­lenic Sta­tis­ti­cal Au­thor­ity (EL­STAT) said the job­less rate rose to 15.9 per­cent Fe­bru­ary, from 15.1 per­cent in the pre­vi­ous month. The rate set a record as the high­est since Greece be­gan re­leas­ing monthly un­em­ploy­ment data in 2004. In Fe­bru­ary last year it stood at 12.1 per­cent.

EL­STAT data showed that 787,229 peo­ple were out of work in Fe­bru­ary, with the to­tal work­ing pop­u­la­tion num­ber­ing 4.17 mil­lion.

Younger work­ers con­tin­ued to pay a hefty price for the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing la­bor mar­ket con­di­tions, with 40 per­cent of those aged be­tween 15 and 24 out of work. Those in the next age bracket have also been hit hard, with 20 per­cent of work­ers aged be­tween 25 and 34 look­ing for work.

On a ge­o­graph­i­cal ba­sis, the job­less rate was high­est on the is­lands of the south­ern Aegean, at 32.7 per­cent, and low­est in the Pelo­pon­nese, at 11.7 per­cent.

“Com­pa­nies are ad­just­ing to the lower de­mand as very neg­a­tive sen­ti­ment af­fects con­sump­tion and in­vest­ment,” Tas­sos Anas­tasatos, se­nior econ­o­mist at EFG Eurobank, told Bloomberg.

Greece’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct con­tracted 4.5 per­cent in 2010 and is fore­cast to shrink 3 per­cent this year. Europe’s of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics agency, Euro­stat, will re­lease Greek GDP fig­ures for the first quar­ter to­mor­row.

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