Cyprus Tackles Rising Unemployment

The lines of the jobless are getting longer in Cyprus

Trying to deal with an economic crisis that almost brought down the country’s banking industry, Cyprus now is turning toward programs aimed at combating rising joblessness that seems certain to get worse because of austerity measures attached to a 10 billion euro ($13.67 billion) international bailout.

Officials said the government has earmarked 340 million euros ($467.5 million) to get people back to work and bring down the jobless rate that is expected to soar to more than 19 percent.

President Nicos Anastasiades says 300 million euros — half of which will come from the European Investment Bank — will be channeled to commercial banks for low-interest loans to small- and medium-sized businesses.

Some seven million euros ($9.64 billion) will help subsidize worker salaries for 10 months at each of 1,000 small retail businesses. The government will also pay half the salary of newly-hired jobless persons in the sector for six months.

Another 8.5 million euros ($11.7 million) will be used to support 2,500 university graduates under 35 to gain six months-worth of workplace experience. Anastasiades unveiled a total of 10 unemployment-fighting measures.