ECONOMY

First drop in youth joblessness

For the first time in the last few years Greece’s youth unemployment rate posted a decline – of 4.8 percent – in the 12-month period to end-September, according to a work force survey by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

The seasonally adjusted figures for the general unemployment rate showed a slight increase to 27.4 percent in September from 27.3 percent in August and 26 percent a year earlier.

The jobless rate for those in the 15-24 age range contracted by 4.8 percentage points from September 2012, while the reduction reaches 8.7 percent compared with youth unemployment in August 2012: The age category with the biggest problem in terms of unemployment saw its jobless rate drop to 51.9 percent in September from 60.6 percent in August and 56.7 percent in September last year.

There is insufficient data as yet to explain the reduction. It is not clear whether and to what extent it is due to the seasonal programs for subsidized employment in tourism, the impact of the long-term decline in salaries for under-25s, or migration abroad. The figure is provisional and should be reassessed when the quarterly survey figures are released to avoid any hasty conclusions.

There was, however, a 3.5 percentage point increase in the jobless rate for the 65-74 age group compared to September 2012, although ELSTAT says it had a rather small sample to work with in this group.

The total number of unemployed climbed to 1,376,463, with over 1 million people added in the last four years. In 2008, when the financial crisis broke out the total jobless in Greece numbered just 370,203.

In the previous 12 months, 54,128 jobs were lost as the number of employed stood at about 3.63 million in September 2013 against an estimated 3.69 million in September 2012. There was also a decline in the number of financially inactive people, with 3.32 million registered as such in September from 3.35 million a year earlier.