ECONOMY

Jobless rate climbs above one-in-four level in August

The number of people finding themselves out of work has been growing at an alarming rate over the last four years in Greece, as Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) figures for August showed unemployment exceeding the one-in-four level in the month of the year that usually sees the highest number of job opportunities.

ELSTAT figures put the official jobless rate at 25.4 percent of the work force, compared with 18.4 percent a year earlier and 24.8 percent in July 2012.

Data from 2009 onward illustrate that 835,648 jobs have been lost within four years, while during the same period the number of unemployed soared by 896,457. This includes the increase in the work force with the entry of young people who have failed to get a foot on the employment ladder.

With the official number of unemployed at 1,267,595 in August certain to have grown to at least 1.3 million by now and with 3,375,297 people characterized by ELSTAT as financially inactive, the total number of citizens who are not involved in productive activity and have to live on pensions or unemployment and other benefits is edging close to 5 million. This figure, which stood at exactly 4,642,892 people in August, is tangible proof of the pressure the deepening recession and the rising jobless rate is putting on public finances.

Young people aged up to 24 years are even more unlikely to find a job as the unemployment rate in this age group has reached a staggering 58 percent. Those aged 25-34 have a one-in-three jobless rate, while for the 35-44 age group the rate stood at 21.5 percent. Women once again face the biggest problem with a 29 percent jobless rate, but the 22.7 percent rate for men is four times as high as that in 2008.

The regions that have been hit hardest are Epirus and Western Macedonia, with a 28.5 percent unemployment level, while in Attica the rate was at 25.9 percent in August, up from 18.5 percent a year earlier.