ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Unemployment in Greece hit a record high of 25.1 percent in July as the country's financial crisis continues to exact its heavy toll, official figures showed Thursday.
All indications are that unemployment in Greece will continue to rise. The economy has shrunk by around a fifth since the recession started in 2008 and youth unemployment has pushed far above 50 percent
. The economy is expected to enter a sixth year of recession next year.
The state statistics agency said Greece's unemployment rate rose from 24.8 percent in June. According to European statisticians, that would be the same rate as Spain's in August.The two countries have the highest unemployment rates among the 17 that use the euro. In August, eurozone unemployment stood at an average 11.4 percent, itself the highest level since the single currency was launched in 1999.
Greece's statistical authority said 1.26 million Greeks were out of work in July, with more than 1,000 jobs lost every day over the past year. In the worst-affected 15-24 age group, unemployment was 54.2 percent. In July 2008, a year before Greece's acute financial crisis broke, there were only about 364,000 registered unemployed.
The country's main GSEE labor union said real unemployment is above 30 percent and growing, which it blamed on "violent" government cutbacks.
After losing access to international money markets and nearly defaulting on its mountain of debt, Greece has survived on international bailouts since May 2010.
However, solvency comes at a harsh price: To secure and continue receiving the loans, Athens imposed tough austerity measures, slashing incomes and repeatedly increasing taxes, in an attempt to get its public finances in order. The cutbacks have triggered deep resentment among a population reeling under nearly three years of austerity. GSEE and other main unions have called a new general strike and demonstration next week.
more on http://news.yahoo.com/greek-unemploy...--finance.html
Tough times ahead for Greeks, as the two easiest and most used mechanisms against social disatisfaction related to economic crisis, immigration and currency devaluation, are not within easy reach this time. Maybe bailing out of the euro zone is not such a bad idea after all...