Greek unemployment rate hits 27.6 percent in July [update]

Greece’s unemployment rate is continuing to climb, reaching 27.6 percent in July compared with a revised 27.5 percent a month earlier, data by the country’s statistical authority ELSTAT showed Thursday.

ELSTAT said that 1.36 million people were without a job in July, up ten percent from a year earlier.

The number of employed has decreased by 136,714 persons versus July 2012 (a 3.6 percent decrease) and by 14,219 persons versus June 2013 (a 0.4 percent decrease), according to the agency.

Youth unemployment was at 55.1 percent, ELSTAT data showed.

The conservative-led coalition expects modest jobs growth next year. But even then, it forecasts unemployment to remain high, at an average 26 percent compared with 27 percent for this year.

The biggest labor union, the GSEE, has painted a much darker picture and expects unemployment to exceed 30 percent in coming years.

The government also predicts that the economy will start to grow again next year – the first average annual growth since 2007 – albeit at an anemic 0.6 percent.

In a report published on Wednesday, the IMF said Greece will need to adopt new austerity measures to the tune of 6.7 billion euros from 2014 to 2016 in order to make its fiscal adjustment targets. This is 2.6 billion euros more than foreseen in the agreement between Athens and its creditors for additional interventions in the 2015-2016 period, as there was no provision for new measures next year.

Speaking to Skai television on Thursday Greek Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis ruled out the possibility of additional measures.

“No new measures will be taken. The prime minister has said so a number of times,” Michelakis said.

In a statement released Thursday, leftist SYRIZA opposition said recent developments had shattered the government’s mantra of a Greek “success story.”

“The economic and social reality is undoing the PR myths of the government… [Reality] cannot be disguised using accounting tricks and wishful thinking,” the statement said.

[AP, Kathimerini English Edition]