ECONOMY

Greek jobless rate falls for second quarter in a row in Q3 [Update]

Greece’s jobless rate fell to 27 percent in the third quarter of 2013 as the pace of economic contraction eased, but remained near record levels and the highest in the eurozone.

Joblessness is a major headache for Greece’s coalition government, which expects recovery to begin next year and is keen to show there is light at the end of the tunnel after painful cuts in wages, pensions and a rise in taxes.

Unemployment has more than tripled since 2008, the start of the protracted recession which has wiped out about a quarter of Greece’s gross domestic product.

There was a boost from tourism and new jobs were created in the agricultural and communications sectors, said Nikos Magginas, an economist at National Bank.

“Unemployment is expected to deteriorate moderately in the last quarter which is not a high tourism season,» he said.

The jobless rate eased from 27.1 percent in the previous three-month period, registering the second consecutive drop in quarterly unemployment since 2009. But it remained near a record level of 27.4 percent hit in the first quarter this year. [Reuters]