Jobless rate may jump to 16.5 pct in 2011

The country’s unemployment rate could jump to 16.5 percent by the end of the year if negative labor market trends in the last quarter of 2010 continue, according to the Bank of Greece.

Bank of Greece economist Isaac Sabethai told a conference on Tuesday that this could be prevented by the right mix of reforms being introduced into the economy, which is in its third year of recession.

The latest data on the labor market shows that job cuts are continuing at a fast pace.

According to figures from the the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), unemployment jumped to a record 14.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, from 12.4 percent in the third quarter, as nearly 100,000 people lost their job in three months.

Greece?s total jobless numbered 712,065 people at the end of last year while the working population amounts to about 4.2 million people.

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