Greece’s Jobless Rate Falls to 18.2%, Lowest Since 2011

OAED - Manpower Employment Organization in Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Giorgos Kontarinis)

ATHENS – With Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras saying he is bringing recovery from a more than 8 ½-year-long economic and austerity crisis, the country’s unemployment rate fell to 18.6 percent as of July, 2017, the lowest since six years before that.

The country’s statistics agency ELSTAT released the figures that showed despite the improvement that there were still 875,997 people without jobs. The figures also don’t reflect the more than 700,000 people who fled the country, some 92 percent of them professionals or college graduates, a massive brain drain, reported Kathimerini.

Among younger persons aged 15 to 24, the jobless rate fell to 38.5 percent from 41.3 percent in the same month in 2017, said Reuters news agency, but the overall figures are still the highest in the 19 countries of the 28 in the European Union using the euro.

The government predicted that unemployment will fall to 18.2 percent in 2019 as the economy recovers, based on projections in its 2019 budget.

Greece’s economy expanded for a ninth straight quarter in July-to-September and at a slower pace than the quarter before and has shrunk some 25 percent since a then-PASOK Socialist government under Premier George Papandreou sought a 110-billion euro ($126.88 billion) rescue package in 2010 and other governments received two more totaling another 226-billion euros ($260.69 billion).