ECONOMY

Unemployment drops to 25.9 pct in August

Hirings in Greece posted a 42 percent rise on annual basis in the first 10 months of the year as unemployment continues to show signs of a small decrease according to data published on Thursday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), the Manpower Organization (OAED) and the Labor Ministry’s online Ergani register.

The jobless rate remained high in August, at 25.9 percent, according to ELSTAT’s seasonally adjusted figures, from 26.1 percent in July and 27.8 percent in August 2013. The number of unemployed fell by 112,186 people in August compared to a year earlier (down 8.3 percent) to reach 1,242,219 people.

The number of employed grew by just 32,636 from August 2013, rising to 3,551,148 individuals, while the economically inactive increased by 29,196 people year-on-year to 3,334,759.

The highest jobless rate can still be found in the 15-24 age group, although it has dropped considerably, to 49.3 percent from 58.6 percent in August 2013. Next is the 25-34 age group, which saw its rate slip to 32.7 percent from 37.7 percent a year earlier. Unemployment among men has dropped from 24.6 percent to 23.1 percent in a year, while for women the figure has fallen from 32 percent to 29.5 percent.

The decline in unemployment continued in September, with OAED figures showing that the number of registered unemployed shrank by 6,837 individuals, as those seeking work through OAED came to about 968,100. Just 111,072 people received unemployment benefits in September, with more than half (53.9 percent) of the total registered unemployed having spent more than 12 months out of work. There were also 135,482 registered unemployed who were not seeking work.

As in September, the seasonal character of the Greek economy was also evident in the Ergani register’s October figures, which showed a deficit of 66,636 jobs: Hiring announcements numbered 151,110, while departures came to 217,746, following the pattern seen every October on record.

However, when examining the complete data for the first 10 months of the year, it is clear that the labor market is improving: Hirings added up to 1,338,038, posting annual growth of 42.5 percent, while departures reached 1,217,751. Therefore, in the year to end-October, the number of new hirings outstripped firings by 120,287 new jobs. This comes on top of the similar growth of 130,703 jobs registered in the first 10 months of last year. These figures have been the two biggest salaried labor market increases since 2001.