Deteriorating labor market conditions are forcing a growing number of Greeks into self-employment, with business initiatives in the country the highest in Europe, according to survey results made public yesterday. The Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research (IOBE), an Athens-based think tank, said in a report that 35 percent of businesses founded in 2008 were undertaken by people who felt they lacked other employment prospects, up from 13 percent in 2007. «The phenomenon in Greece that is being confirmed is that there is an increase in self-employment due to a lack of job opportunities or dissatisfaction with the remuneration levels offered,» IOBE said in a statement. About 22 percent of the country’s labor force, or 1.5 million people, started their own business initiative in the two-year period in 2008 and 2009, amounting to the highest figure in Europe, said IOBE. An additional 1 million people are planning to also do so in the next three years, it added. As the crisis sends Greece deeper into recession in 2009, the labor market has further deteriorated, with the jobless rate hitting 9.1 percent in September, up from 7.4 percent in the same month a year earlier. The total number of unemployed people in Greece reached 456,803 people in September.