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Greece's unemployment rate hits 26.4%

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People wait outside an unemployment bureau in the Greek capital, Athens.

Official figures show that the unemployment rate in Greece rose above 26 percent in December 2012, as the country embarks on its sixth year of recession.

The Greek statistics office ELSTAT announced on Thursday that the unemployment rate hit 26.4 percent in December, which is five percent more than the data registered in 2011.

The figures revealed that the number of employed people stood at 3.7 million out of a population of nearly 11 million. About one million Greeks have lost their jobs since the recession erupted in 2008.

Athens has announced plans to cut an additional 150,000 public sector jobs by 2015, including 25,000 before the end of the current year.

The ELSTAT report also indicated that jobs in Greece were more readily available for men than women, with half of those unemployed under the age of 25.

The unemployment rate in Greece remains twice as high as Europe’s average reading of 11.8 percent.

Greece’s economy has been in recession due to tax rises and spending cuts initiated by the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The country’s business sector has contracted by 22 percent since 2008.

Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis.


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