Unemployment climbs

Greece’s unemployment rate jumped to 8.3 percent in September from 7.6 percent in August due to seasonal factors, remaining well above the eurozone’s average, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. Unemployment stood at 8.2 percent in September 2006. Despite stronger economic growth of 3.6 percent in the third quarter, Greece’s jobless rate is higher than the 13-member eurozone’s average – 7.3 percent in the same month. The NSS said there were 410,324 officially unemployed in September, while an estimated 4.5 million people had jobs. «The increase in September from the previous month is due to seasonal factors. There is a considerable drop in job numbers in the areas of tourism and farming every year at this time when summer ends,» said an NSS official, who declined to be named. Economists said the jump in jobless figures also reflects a lower number of part-time positions introduced to help with the elections held in early September. «The slight downturn can be attributed in part to a drop in employment in the construction industry and a drop in the rate of increase in part-time employment which traditionally increases during pre-election periods,» said Nicholas Magginas, economist at National Bank. «The average unemployment rate for 2007 is expected to come in slightly higher than 8 percent compared to 8.9 percent in 2006.» Unemployment continued to affect women more than men. In September, unemployment in the female population was 12.7 percent compared to 5.3 percent for men. (Reuters)

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