Jobless rate inches to 7.1 pct

Greece’s unemployment rate rose marginally to 7.1 percent in August, from 7 percent the previous month, as a rise in tourism employment helped offset the impact of the economic slowdown. The National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday that the August figure, which stood at 7.6 percent in the same period a year earlier, benefited from jobs created in the northern and southern Aegean Islands. Greece, which accounts for about 2.5 percent of the eurozone economy, has so far avoided the immediate impact of the credit crunch but is starting to feel the pinch of a slowing global economy. Economists expect the country’s jobless figure, which had peaked at 11.7 percent in January 2004, to rise in coming months, reflecting slowing domestic economic growth. Unemployment continued to affect women more than men. In August, unemployment in the female population was 11 percent, compared with 4.5 percent for men. It was much higher for people in the 15-24 age group, at 19.2 percent.