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Greek jobless rate record high in May

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Jobless Greeks line up outside an unemployment bureau in Athens

Unemployment rate in crisis-struck Greece hit an all-time high of 23.1 percent in May as the country struggles through a fifth year in recession, says the national statistics agency.

New data, released by Elstat on Thursday, showed that 1.15 million people were out of work in Greece, compared with 3.82 million, who had jobs.

The jobless rate for the same period last year stood at 16.8 percent. The percentage for April was counted at 22.6%, Elstat noted.

Nearly 55 percent of Greeks, aged between 15 to 29, were out of work in May.

The gloomy data coincided with news that a special labor reserve measure would be revived by the government, targeting 40,000 public servants for eventual dismissal, a move that could secure the EUR 11.5 billion in savings, Athens had promised international lenders.

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have presented Greece with two rescue packages in return for specific austerity measures, which include the cutting of public sector salaries and pensions, increasing taxes, and overhauling the pension system.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the European Commission said the new Greek unemployment figures were a source of “deep concern.”

“It’s something both the troika and the Greek authorities need to address,” Olivier Bailly said.

Greece has the second-highest unemployment rate in the eurozone after Spain where 24.7% of the previous workforce were jobless in May.

Apart from Greece, various eurozone member states, including Italy and Spain, have been struggling with serious economic woes since the bloc’s financial crisis began roughly five years ago.

As a result, the member states started implementing tough austerity measure in a bid to prevent facing double-dip recessions, which has also prompted companies to cut jobs.


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