Greece’s jobless rate hit a record high in May, driven by austerity measures which have plunged the economy into a deep recession.Data from national statistics agency ELSTAT on Thursday showed unemployment rose to 16.6 per cent from 15.8 per cent in April as job cuts in the wider economy outweighed a rise in seasonal tourism.
The reading was sharply higher than in the same period last year, when it stood at 12 per cent. Greek unemployment figures are not adjusted for seasonal factors.
The young continued to be the hardest-hit, with the jobless rate in the 15-24 age group reaching 40 per cent, twice as high as in May 2008.The debt-choked country is in its third year of recession, with employment taking a hit as companies shed jobs and many shops close.“Employment is shrinking at the fastest annual rate ever recorded because of increased uncertainty amid the ongoing recession,” said Nikos Magginas, an economist at National Bank of Greece.“Despite an improvement in tourism, it is hard to see a significant reversal in the upward trend for unemployment in the coming months,” said Magginas, who expects the rate to exceed the 17 per cent-mark at the end of the year.
From / Gulf Today