BUSINESS

Greece's jobless rate rises to 24.9 pct in first quarter

GEORGE GEORGIOPOULOS

TAGS: Economy

Greece's jobless rate rose to 24.9 percent in January-to-March from 24.4 percent in the last year's final quarter, data from the country's statistics service showed on Thursday.

The highest unemployment rate was recorded in the first quarter of 2014, when joblessness hit 27.8 percent. About 70.3 percent of Greece's 1.19 million jobless are long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for at least 12 months, the figures showed.

Athens has already published monthly unemployment figures through March, which differ from quarterly data because they are based on different samples and are seasonally adjusted. Quarterly figures are not seasonally adjusted.

The debt crisis and a six-year austerity imposed by the EU/IMF lenders in exchange for Greece's bailouts have wiped out about a quarter of the country's economic output, driving the jobless rate to record highs.

Greece's economy shrank by 0.5 percent in the first quarter, at a slightly faster pace than previously estimated, weighed by weaker consumer spending and net exports.

The country's central bank expects the economy will contract 0.3 percent this year.

[Reuters]

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