Greek Jobless Rate Slides to Lowest in Eight Years


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

ATHENS - With signs of a slow recovery from a nine-year-long economic and austerity crisis, Greece’s jobless rate eased to 18.5 percent for February, the country’s statistics agency ELSTAT said, the lowest since July, 2011.

Seasonally adjusted data showed the number of unemployed at 871,556 people, with younger persons aged up to 24 still the hardest hit and with the rate the highest in the Eurozone and Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras not creating job programs for the young as he promised.

The rate for those 15-24 fell to 38.8 percent from 46 percent in the same month in 2018. Tsipras said he’s bringing recovery after the August 2018 end of three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($364.7 billion) but still hasn’t been able to make a full return to the markets and with investors scared off by a 29 percent corporate rate.

The government expects unemployment to decline to 18.2 percent this year as the economy recovers, based on projections in its 2019 budget, said Reuters, but the economy - which shrank 25 percent during the crisis, took yet another setback in last quarter of 2018 after growing slightly for nine consecutive quarters.