Joblessness in May shrinks to 10-yr low

Greece’s unemployment rate dipped to 6.6 percent in May, its lowest in 10 years, despite the country starting to feel the pinch from the global economic slowdown. The National Statistics Service (NSS), the country’s statistics arm, said the number of jobless fell from 7.7 percent in May last year on job growth in tourism. The jobless rate fell by half in the Aegean islands as the country’s tourism businesses geared up for the summer season. The southern Aegean, which includes the Cycladic islands of Myconos and Santorini, registered unemployment of 3.2 percent, compared with 6.4 percent in the same month of last year. Tourism accounts for about 18 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product (GDP) – and roughly one in five jobs – with 15 million people visiting the country every year. The total number of jobless in May fell to 324,777 from 378,299, according to the NSS. Greece’s economy, which has been one of the fastest growing in the eurozone in recent years, is showing signs of running out of steam. Data released on Monday showed that GDP growth decelerated in the second quarter of the year to 3.4 percent from 3.6 percent in the first three months of the year on falling investment and slowing consumption. Economists said they expected the jobless rate to remain at current levels in coming months. Unemployment continued to affect women more than men. In May, unemployment in the female population was 10.0 percent, against 4.2 percent for men. It was much higher for people in the 15-24 age group at 18.6 percent.