ECONOMY

Some 300 jobs vanishing daily

Apart from the problems and fiscal holes created in the budget this year, the global financial crisis has had a significant negative impact on the real economy. According to data released by the Bank of Greece yesterday, the increase in jobless numbers has been steep, as data show that about 300 people join the unemployment line on a daily basis. In the second quarter of the year, the number of unemployed workers was 23.9 percent higher than the same period a year earlier, numbering 442,600 people from last year’s 357,100. In September 2009, hirings dropped by 14.6 percent versus the same month last year, reaching 97,876, while job losses remained roughly steady (falling by 0.6 percent and affecting 64,106 people). Indicative of the lack of job security prevalent in the market and this period of crisis is the fact that workers resigning from their positions in September fell by 20.5 percent year-on-year to 40,320 people. These developments are directly connected to the recession the country is experiencing for the first time in 16 years. According to the latest figures from the Finance Ministry, the Greek economy is expected to contract by an annual pace of 1.2 percent this year ahead of another recessionary year in 2010, where a negative growth rate of 0.3 percent is on the cards. Investments and private construction have been hit hard by the crisis. In the eight-month period ending in August, building permits were down 15.8 percent from last year, forcing many workers in the sector to find employment elsewhere. Additionally, industrial production continued to slide in September, falling by 9 percent, in a development that further worsened labor market conditions. At the same time, the reduction in tourist arrivals so far this year has resulted in a large drop in job positions over the summer months. Unemployment on the islands during the summer was especially high this year.