ECONOMY

Long-term jobless figure hits 600,000

Unemployment rose to 22.6 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to data released on Thursday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), but even more worrying is the soaring number of long-term jobless.

ELSTAT?s survey showed that in the first three months of 2012 the total number of unemployed people climbed to 1,120,097, with 56.5 percent of these seeking work for over a year.

Among young people aged up to 24 the jobless rate stood at 52.7 percent, while for women in that age group the rate came to a staggering 60.4 percent.

The biggest drop in employment was in the manufacturing sector, where it fell 15.1 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011. In the primary sector it contracted by 5.8 percent while in the service sector employment shrank by 7.2 percent. Foreigners had a jobless rate of 30.5 percent, far above that of Greeks (21.8 percent).