Jobless rate leaps to 14.8 pct in December (Update)

Greece?s unemployment rate kept rising in December, hitting 14.8 percent, with more than 40,000 people losing their job in a month as prospects in the labor market remain gloomy.

The Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), said in a statement on Wednesday that the December jobless rate rose from 13.9 percent in November. It stood at 10.2 percent in the same month a year earlier.

In December, 41,068 people lost their job, pushing the number of unemployed to 733,645, ELSTAT added. The country?s total workforce numbers 4.23 million people.

As unemployment keeps rising, survey results released earlier this week showed that job prospects in coming months are gloomy, particularly in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

Job finders Manpower, which conducts quarterly surveys in 39 countries, measuring employer intentions to increase or decrease staff levels, said on Tuesday that second quarter hiring prospects are weak with a net employment outlook of minus ten percent.

The figure is derived by taking the percentage of employers who anticipate total employment to increase and subtract from this the percentage of those expecting to see a decrease in employment.

A breakdown of ELSTAT figures on Wednesday showed that nearly 40 percent of those in the 15 to 24 age group are looking for work with one in five jobless in the 25 to 34 year old bracket.

On a geographical basis, the jobless rate was highest in the Ionian islands at 23.1 percent, followed by northern Greece?s western Macedonia district at 17.7 percent.

Eurozone unemployment in December was steady at ten percent.

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