ECONOMY

Ministry disputes claim that jobs retrieval will take 20 years

It will take about 20 years for the Greek economy to recreate the over 1 million jobs lost during the crisis of the last four years, the Labor Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) warned yesterday, inciting the wrath of the Labor Ministry, which spoke about “prophets of doom.”

The institute’s director Savvas Rombolis spoke during a TV show about the annual report on the Greek economy which is to be published in the next few days and revealed that the country will have to wait for two more decades before the jobless rate drops below 10 percent. The institute expects unemployment to reach 29-30 percent this year before climbing to 31.5 percent in 2014. The jobless rate among young people will hit 64 percent this year, the institute has forecast.

Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis issued a statement citing the “prophets of doom who use the worst-case scenarios for their mathematical models in order to forecast destruction and steal the show. All the official figures on the course of employment and unemployment in the last year in this country refute their claims and allow for more optimistic forecasts.”

“According to the data of the Hellenic Statistical Authority [ELSTAT], the growth rate in number of jobless on an annual basis has declined from 42.8 percent in July 2012 to 16.3 percent in May 2013, which presents clear signs of stabilization in the labor market. Especially regarding salaried employment in the private sector, the data of the Ergani database that records in real time the actual data in the labor market, the balance of hirings and dismissals in the first eight months of the year was positive by 102,580 jobs, which is by far the highest since 2008.”

Rombolis responded to the minister through a statement to Kathimerini, saying that “by its nature, scientific analysis is not congruous with scaremongering,” adding that for 50,000 jobs to be created every year, the country’s gross domestic product has to grow by 3.5 percent. “This scenario is pessimistic by itself and cannot be disputed.”

The institute also estimates that since 2009, salary workers and the self-employed have seen revenues drop by at least 41 billion euros, with salary workers losing a quarter of their purchasing power in the same period.