Unemployment drops to 25.5 pct in Q3

Greece’s jobless rate dropped to 25.5 percent in the third quarter compared with 26.6 percent in the previous three-month period, data from the country’s statistics service showed on Thursday.

The rate was the lowest recorded since the third quarter of 2012, when joblessness stood at 24.9 percent.

About 75.4 percent of Greece’s 1.23 million jobless are long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for at least 12 months, the figures showed.

Athens has already published monthly unemployment figures through September, which differ from quarterly data because they are based on different samples. Quarterly figures are not seasonally adjusted.

The debt crisis and austerity imposed by the EU/IMF lenders in exchange for a bailout wiped out about a quarter of the economy, driving the jobless rate to record highs.

The economy emerged from a six-year recession in the first quarter and has been growing ever since. The government and its international lenders expect growth of 0.6 percent this year while the country’s central bank projects an expansion rate of 0.7 percent.