Union sees jobless rate at 29 pct in 2013

Greece's largest labor union on Monday warned that the country's unemployment will reach 29 percent in 2013 if the government carries out more planned austerity measures, expected to exceed 11.5 billion euros for 2012-13.

"The course of the Greek economy is one of decline. In 2012, we are expecting a drop in gross domestic product of 7 percent. This will create unemployment of 24 percent level -- 1.2 million people,» Savvas Rombolis, head of research at the GSEE labor union told the Associated Press in an interview.

"Our estimate is that in 2013, unemployment will be between 28 and 29 percent -- more than 1.4 million people. That's because we expect the economy to remain in decline."

The predictions are to be included in a report that will be published on Thursday.

Unemployment in May reached 23.1 percent, with the under-25 jobless rate hitting 54.9 percent.

The report, Rombolis said, also found that Greeks on minimum wage have seen their spending power reduced to 1979 levels, while those earning an average salary have been pushed back to the equivalent of the early 1980s -- after analyzing wage trends, the price of goods and services, and the impact of successive tax hikes since Greeces major financial crisis began in late 2009.