Jobless rate rises to record 14.2 pct in Q4

Greece?s unemployment rate jumped to a record 14.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year with economists expecting jobless numbers to keep rising due to the recession.

Figures from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) show that nearly 100,000 people lost their job in the last quarter of 2010, pushing Greece?s total jobless number to 712,065 people. Unemployment stood at 12.4 percent in the third quarter last year.

The latest reading is the highest figure on record since the local statistics service started producing quarterly labour market data in 1998.

Economists expect deteriorating labour conditions to persist in the first few months of the year with some respite in the second and third quarter due to an increase in tourism and export positions. However, a reversal in rising jobless numbers may not arise until at least the first quarter of 2012, economists added.

Young people remain hardest hit by Greece’s deepening recession, with 28 percent of those aged between 15 and 29 without a job in the fourth quarter, compared with 20.4 percent a year earlier, ELSTAT data showed.

Women also continued to see fewer job opportunities than men, with the number of unemployed women at 17.9 percent in the final three months of last year, compared with 10.3 percent a year earlier.

By region, the highest unemployment was in the Ionian Islands, where the jobless rate reached 18.1 percent, compounded by lack of off-season tourism jobs. In the Attica region unemployment was 14.1 percent in the quarter, up sharply from a 10.2 percent rate a year earlier.

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