Jobless rate to rise sharply after summer

Greece’s unemployment rate is expected to jump 20 percent in the fall, from 11.7 percent in the first three months of the year, according to the General Confederation of Labor (GSEE). INE, GSEE’s research body, estimates that the number of people looking for work before winter could hit the 1 million mark, versus 586,767 jobless at the start of the year. The economic crisis, along with July’s changes to labor market laws, which enable employers to make faster payroll cuts, will lead to the sharp increase in the number of unemployed, according to INE. Greece’s unemployment rate has been growing steadily as the economy sinks deeper into recession under the weight of the government’s austerity measures, which include cutting public sector salaries and repeated value-added tax hikes. Economists believe labor market conditions are expected to keep deteriorating, particularly in the third quarter of the year, as the austerity measures bite. According to the International Monetary Fund, which is co-funding Greece over the next three years in a 110-billion-euro bailout program, the country’s jobless rate is seen jumping to 14.6 percent in 2011 from 11.8 percent this year.