ECONOMY

Major increase in hirings in first half of year

The number of new hirings posted an annual increase of 37.29 percent in the first half of the year according to data published on Thursday by the Labor Inspection Squad (SEPE), which also confirmed that undeclared labor remains high, though not much higher than it was last year.

The figures also show a clear swing away from the trend seen in the previous three years of the crisis that favored flexible forms of labor for new contracts.

Data showed a total of 431,917 hirings in the period from January to June, up from 314,595 in the same period last year. Full-time work represented 62.11 percent of new jobs offered in the first half of 2013, up from 56.12 percent in H1 of 2012.

Meanwhile, full-time employment contracts increased by 51.95 percent to reach 268,262 in the year to June, from 176,549 a year earlier. Flexible forms of labor fell from 43.88 percent to 37.89 percent.

“The six-month figures by SEPE illustrate that the balance in the labor market is gradually being restored,” Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis said in a statement on Thursday.

“Beside the fact that there has been a considerable increase in new hirings in the first half of 2013 from the same period in 2012, it is particularly significant that an ever-increasing share concerns full-time employment contracts. At the same time, the trend of changing existing contracts of full employment to flexible forms is weakening,” added Vroutsis.

Nevertheless, undeclared labor has grown slightly since last year, with SEPE putting it at 38.4 percent from 36.2 percent a year earlier. Total fines for undeclared labor reached 8,013,000 euros in the year to end-June against 5,647,000 euros in the same period in 2012, not including those for other violations of labor legislation.

This share does not reflect the real level of undeclared labor, though, as inspections usually take place only after a specific complaint is made to the squad.