ECONOMY

In Brief

Fall in joblessness mainly due to smaller work force The fall in unemployment since 2000 has been overwhelmingly due to a reduction in the size of Greece’s registered work force, data released by the National Employment Monitor of the Manpower Organization (OAED) shows. «The work force fell by 67,349 people, employment rose by 3,212 people… so unemployment fell by 70,561 people,» said the relevant study. At the same time, the number of people of work age (15-64) fell by 115,200. Unemployment receded at a slower pace among women (by 4.1 percent to 258,390, against 7.5 percent among men to 160.902). Among the unemployed, 40 percent are seeking work for the first time, while 27.7 percent had been unemployed for more than 12 months. Most unemployed (72.3 percent) came from the service sector and 25.8 percent from manufacturing. In terms of educational background, the highest rate of unemployment was noted among those who had attended technical college for at least one year but had not finished (42 percent this year from 25.8 percent in 2000), while the number of jobless holders of postgraduate degrees rose from 5.75 to 7.4 percent. Greece, Turkey to forge stronger economic ties Greece and Turkey are expected to sign an agreement to prevent double taxation in Ankara early next year, Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos told a bilateral business cooperation congress in Athens. Business leaders estimated that measure will lead to a doubling of the volume of trade between the two countries to $2 billion by 2004. The number of Greek investments in Turkey stands at about 65, but Turkish investments in Greece are far fewer, he said, though great opportunities are emerging in the sectors of energy, tourism, banking, commerce, IT and construction. Turkish Minister of State Kursat Tuzmen said the growth of economic ties with Greece was a prominent goal of the new Turkish government, along with his country’s accession to the EU. PMI The seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose from 51.9 points in October to 53.2 in November, indicating the highest increase in manufacturing production since June. Higher order levels were due to improved demand conditions at home and abroad and many firms indicated they recently completed successful negotiations for new contracts. Export orders rose for the 39th straight month. Employment, however, fell only slightly for the second consecutive month, leaving it virtually unchanged since July. NBG The sharp fall in interest rates has led to deposit accounts now being used mainly for transactions rather than for savings, National Bank of Greece (NBG) Chairman Theodoros Karatzas told the daily Ta Nea in an interview. He noted that the volume of guaranteed-capital investment products of NBG, where most deposit accounts are kept, has tripled in recent years. Stabilton The Athens bourse has taken Stabilton off its Real Estate Index and placed it in the Under Supervision category, after the company failed to reply by a set date to a series of questions following a number of press reports.