BUSINESS

Unemployment hits new record high of 21.8 percent

Greece's unemployment rate rose to a new record of 21.8 percent in January from a revised 21.2 percent in December, Greek statistics service ELSTAT said on Thursday.

This means Greece?s unemployment rate has roughly doubled since 2010, when the impact of the crisis began to be felt and Athens turned to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund for emergency loans.

Budget cuts imposed by the EU and the IMF as a condition to save the debt-laden country from a chaotic default have caused a wave of corporate closures and bankruptcies.

Starting this month, Greek unemployment figures are adjusted for seasonal factors. The average jobless rate in the 17 countries sharing the euro rose slightly in January to 10.7 percent, from 10.6 percent in December.

?he number of unemployed in Greece amounted to 1,084,668 in January, according to ELSTAT. This means that the number of Greeks unemployed rose by 344,913 people compared with January 2011, which is an increase of 46.6 percent.

Compared with December 2011, the January unemployment figures showed a rise of 32,331 people, or 3.1 percent.

The highest joblessness rate is in the 15-24 age group, where it has reached 50.8 percent, according to ELSTAT. In the 25-35 bracket, it stands at 28.7 percent.

The area with the highest proportion of people without jobs is Macedonia-Thrace, where 22.6 percent of the population is unemployed.

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