One-in-Four Greeks Unemployed as Austerity Bites

October 12, 2012Greeceby EW News Desk Team

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Unemployment in Greece has hit a record high of 25.1 percent in the month of July, with more than 1,000 jobs lost every day over the past year, according to the latest official data. In particular, unemployment among young people rose to 54.2 percent.

Unemployment rose for a 35th consecutive month to 25.1 per cent in July, which was more than triple the level at the start of the Greek recession in 2008, said Elstat, Greece’s statistical authority.

Elstat said 1.26 million Greeks were out of work in July, with more than 1,000 jobs lost every day over the past year. In the worst-affected 15-24 age group, unemployment was 54.2 percent.

In July 2008, a year before Greece's acute financial crisis broke, there were only about 364,000 registered unemployed. The Greek economy has also shrunk by around a quarter since the start of the recession in 2008, and is expected to continue its recessionary streak next year.

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Angelos Tsakanikas, the head of research at Greece’s IOBE economic research foundation, said:

This is a very dramatic result of the recession.

Greece – and Spain, at 25.1 percent – has one of the highest unemployment rates in the eurozone. In August, eurozone unemployment stood at 11.4 percent, itself the highest since the single currency was introduced in 1999.

According to estimations by the International Labour Organisation, there are now 30 million more people without jobs around the world than before the global financial crisis began.

The BBC's correspondent in Athens, Mark Lowen, said:

The figures have bolstered the anti-austerity argument here, giving fuel to those who believe the entire strategy of Greece's international lenders is wrong, and that pressure for ever more cuts is pushing the country to breaking point and stunting growth.

"They point to the fact that before Greece was bailed out in April 2010, and began its austerity drive, unemployment stood at just 11.8 percent," he said.

After losing access to international money markets and nearly defaulting on its debt in 2010, Greece has relied heavily on international bailouts but Athens has been forced to impose tough austerity measures in return for the money.

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