December 17, 2015 / 10:10 AM / 2 years ago

Greece's jobless rate drops to 24 pct in third quarter

ATHENS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Greece's jobless rate fell to 24 percent in the third quarter from 24.6 percent in the April-to-June period, data from the country's statistics service showed on Thursday.

The highest unemployment rate was recorded in the first quarter of 2014, at 27.8 percent. About 73.7 percent of Greece's 1.16 million jobless are long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for at least 12 months, the figures showed.

Athens has already published monthly unemployment figures through September, which differ from quarterly data because they are based on different samples. Quarterly figures are not seasonally adjusted.

The debt crisis and austerity imposed by the EU/IMF lenders in exchange for Greece's bailouts have wiped out about a quarter of the country's economic output, driving the jobless rate to record highs.

Greece's economy contracted by 0.9 percent quarterly pace in the third quarter as capital controls to shore up banks weighed down on investment, exports and consumer spending.

The 173 billion-euro economy is expected to shrink by 0.7 percent in 2016. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Karolina Tagaris)

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