ECONOMY

July jobless rate dips to 7.0 percent

Greece’s unemployment rate fell to 7.0 percent in July from 7.8 percent in the same month a year earlier on the back of an increase in female employment. Data from the National Statistics Service showed that the number of jobless across the country fell to 347,935 in July from 384,564 last year. The level of unemployed women in July fell to 10.8 percent, from 12.3 percent last year, while the percentage of jobless men eased 0.30 percentage points to 4.4 percent. Unemployment has been steadily falling in Greece, dropping from just over 10 percent in July 2004, but economists believe the global economic slowdown will start to weigh on the labor market. «Looking ahead, we expect a gradual slowdown in employment gains due to a more difficult external economic environment and slowing domestic demand,» Eurobank economist Platon Monokroussos told Reuters. The government has forecast Greece’s unemployment rate as averaging out at 7.4 percent for the year, versus 8 percent in 2007.