Unemployment makes monthly rise of 1 percent

Unemployment reached 9 percent in March, from 8 percent in February, but down from 9.5 percent in March 2007, according to the National Statistics Service (NSS). Data shows that joblessness declined in certain regions of the country and among women, but has increased in the age group of 15-24 years. The country’s rate is well above the eurozone average, which was at 7.1 percent in April, being only second to Spain’s 9.3 percent in the eurozone. Unemployment fell among women from 14.2 percent in March 2007 to 12.7 percent this year, but remains twice as high as that of men, which improved only marginally (6.2 percent from 6.3 percent last year). It dropped in regions such as Western Macedonia, the Ionian Islands and the Northern Aegean, but rose in the Peloponnese, Western Greece and Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. The decline in unemployment in certain regions, age groups and women is attributed to targeted programs of subsidized employment. The most worrying aspect is the rise in the 15-24 age bracket because it is three times as high as the country’s average, standing at 27.1 percent, up from 25 percent in March 2007. The next age group (25-34 years) also has a high 11.9 percent rate.