Greek unemployment hits 25.4 percent in Aug, new record

ATHENS Thu Nov 8, 2012 5:03pm IST

Employees of Hellenic Postbank sit outside the lender's headquarters during a strike against its privatization in Athens September 7, 2012. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

Employees of Hellenic Postbank sit outside the lender's headquarters during a strike against its privatization in Athens September 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/John Kolesidis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's jobless rate rose for a 39th consecutive month to a new record of 25.4 percent in August, more than double the euro zone average, Greece's statistics service ELSTAT said on Thursday.

A crippling, austerity-fuelled recession continued to take its toll on the labor market, putting Greek unemployment at more than double the euro zone average of 11.5 percent.

The jobless rate has more than tripled since the country's five-year economic slump began in 2008. It now stands at 58 percent for those aged between 15 and 24 years, compared with 20 percent in August 2008.

Greece's economy is estimated to have shrunk by about a fifth since then. The slump is expected to continue in 2013 when the government is set to take budget cuts and tax increases worth 9.4 billion euros as a pre-condition to receive more funds under its international bailout.

A record 1.27 million Greeks were without work in August, up 38 percent from the same month last year.

Greece's August jobless rate was the European Union's second highest, behind fellow euro zone sufferer Spain, whose unemployment rate stood at 25.5 percent, according to Eurostat.

The European Commission forecast this week that the Greek labor market would bottom out in 2013, with unemployment slipping to around 22 percent in 2014, the economy's first year of modest recovery after six consecutive years of recession.

(Reporting by Harry Papachristou)

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