ATHENS – Greece’s record unemployment rate, pushed to a record 27.6 percent at one point during a crushing economic crisis worsened by harsh austerity measures, showed signs of reducing in the third quarter of 2013 but remained the highest in the 17-member Eurozone.
The jobless rate eased from 27.1 percent in the previous three-month period to 27 percent, registering the second consecutive drop in quarterly unemployment since 2009. But it remained near a record level of 27.4 percent hit in the first quarter this year.
Joblessness is a major headache for Greece’s coalition government, which expects recovery to begin next year and is keen to show life will begin to get better for beleaguered Greeks suffering big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions.
Unemployment has more than tripled since 2008, the start of the protracted recession which has wiped out about a quarter of Greece’s Gross Domestic Product.
There was a boost from record tourism and new jobs were created in the agricultural and communications sectors, said Nikos Magginas, an economist at National Bank. “Unemployment is expected to deteriorate moderately in the last quarter which is not a high tourism season,” he said.