ECONOMY

Jobless rate eased marginally in December

Municipal employment programs that started in December resulted in a slight drop in the jobless rate in the last month of 2012, although this was not enough to change the miserable picture of the whole of last year.

Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data released on Thursday showed that 26.4 percent of the work force was without a job in December, down from 26.6 percent in November and up from 21.4 percent a year earlier, with the total number of people who had lost their jobs since December 2011 coming to 208,953. The number of unemployed has grown by 930,566 people in the last five years.

ELSTAT estimates that for the whole of last year the unemployment rate stood at an average of 24.4 percent.

The total number of unemployed came to 1,321,236 in December, while the number of employed people increased by 40,316 people from June, mostly thanks to local authority employment schemes around the country. The figure for the financially inactive population declined by 4,584 from November to 3,341,853.

Among women the unemployment rate stood at 29.3 percent, while 57.5 percent of males and females aged between 15 and 24 years were jobless in December.