Jobless rate soared in September

Unemployment in Greece has risen by about 93,000 people from September 2008 to September 2009, National Statistical Service data showed yesterday. This has taken the jobless rate to 9.1 percent from 7.4 percent a year earlier and from 9 percent in August 2009. The total number of unemployed in Greece came to 456,803 people. Still, this is a long way from the estimates by Labor Minister Andreas Loverdos this week, who claimed that unemployment will soar to 18 to 20 percent by the end of the year. The average rate for the first nine months of 2009 reached 9.1 percent, which is where estimates also put the rate for the entire year. There was more bad news from the industrial output figures, which showed a decline for the 17th month in succession in October, NSS data confirmed. Production shrank by 9.2 percent that month compared with October 2008, while output in manufacturing alone declined by 11.6 percent year-on-year. The NSS also announced yesterday that imports and exports continued to move southward in October. The value of imports dropped by 38.9 percent on a yearly basis to 3.3 billion euros, while exports slid by 26.7 percent to 1.2 billion euros. Therefore the trade deficit dropped to 2.1 billion euros from 3.7 billion euros a year earlier. All the data confirm that the Greek economy is set to contract by about 1.2 percent for the whole of the year, while initial estimates for next year point toward a contraction of 0.3 percent.

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