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Greek industrial slump persists, jobless rate at record high [Update]

Greece's industrial slump deepened and unemployment ticked up to a record high, data showed on Thursday, highlighting the ravages of a six-year recession even as the debt-laden economy shows tentative signs of an economic recovery elsewhere.

The jobless rate rose slightly to a record 27.8 percent in October from 27.7 percent in the previous month while industrial output contracted in November for a fifth consecutive month, by 6.1 percent.

With more than one in four of the workforce unemployed, joblessness is a major headache for Greece's government as it scrambles to hit fiscal targets and carry out structural reforms demanded by its EU/IMF lenders.

Austerity measures to correct Greece's economic imbalances have come at a high cost. About 1.39 million people were out of work in October compared with just 385,000 when the country's recession started six years ago.

Those aged 15 to 24 remain the hardest-hit with their jobless rate at 58 percent, up from 23 percent when the crisis started. This figure, however, excludes students and military conscripts who are not in the labor force and account for about a third of people in that age group.

Greek industrial production has been shrinking since 2008, dropping by about 30 percent from its peak.

The figure remains volatile and other recent data has pointed to a small recovery around the corner after a six-year recession that wiped out almost a quarter of the economy.

The PMI Manufacturing index rose in December to its highest level in more than four years, to 49.6, just shy of a 50-point mark that divides growth from contraction.

Greece's economy is expected to grow by 0.6 percent this year, boosted by a sharp rebound in tourism and rise in investment and exports as fears of a Greek eurozone exit fade. [Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Thursday Jan 9, 2014 (14:20)  
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