Greece’s jobless rate rises to 26.6 percent in first quarter

Greece’s jobless rate rose slightly to 26.6 percent in the first three months of the year from 26.1 percent in the previous quarter, data from the country’s statistics service showed on Thursday.

The highest rate had been 27.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014. About 71.6 percent of Greece’s 1.27 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 March, 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.

Greece’s economy had dipped back into recession in the first quarter after expanding by 0.7 percent in a fragile recovery last year. It is expected to expand by 0.5 percent this year based on the latest EU Commission forecasts.