Unemployment rate hit record high in Greece

June 8th, 2012 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Athens, June 8 (IANS) The jobless rate in Greece hit a record high of 21.9 percent in March, official data showed.

The figure was up from 21.4 percent in the previous month and 15.7 percent a year earlier, according to the country’s statistics agency ELSTAT.

As the country struggles to tackle a severe debt crisis and avoid a disorderly default and an exit from the eurozone, over one million people are now unemployed, while 3.8 million are employed, reported Xinhua.

Young Greeks have been the hardest hit, with 52.8 percent of those in the 15-24 age group jobless in March, up from 41 percent last year, according to ELSTAT data. About 29.8 percent of those aged between 25 and 34 do not have a job, compared to 22 percent a year earlier, the data showed Thursday.

The sharp rise in unemployment rates has been attributed by analysts to steep spending cuts, salaries and pensions reductions and tax hikes introduced since 2010 as part of the country’s efforts to address the debt crisis in return for multi-billion euro aid packages from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

Plagued by the recession, angry voters supported anti-austerity parties that campaign against the terms of the two bailout deals with lenders during the May 6 elections that gave no party parliamentary majority.

Greece is heading for fresh elections June 17.

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