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Unemployment hits historic high of 27.8%

1,387,520 people out of work in October, official statistics show

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Figures show that country's about 3.6 million people are working to support more than 4.7 million unemployed and inactive people

People walk outside a state employment agency OAED office in Athens (Photo: AFP) People walk outside a state employment agency OAED office in Athens (Photo: AFP) The unemployment rate hit an historic, all-time high in October, with 27.8% of the workforce without a job, data from the Hellenic Statistics Authority (Elstat) showed on Thursday.

The figure was more than the upwardly revised 27.7% on the previous month, which was also a record high. 

This means that for the seventh month running, unemployment remains above 27%, the highest rate in the entire European Union.

The figures showed the total number of people employed in October at 3,597,779, the unemployed at 1,387,520 and the economically inactive at 3,360,513.

This means that the country's unemployment figures have grown by more than a million in five years. In October 2008, a few months before the crisis broke, 372,578 people (7.5%) were recorded as unemployed.

The figures also show that about 3.6 million people are working to support more than 4.7 million unemployed and inactive people.

The data (pdf) showed that in October, the number of people with jobs fell by 21,861 compared with the previous month, representing a 0.6% decrease on the previous month.

The ranks of the unemployed fell by 1,111, down 0.1%. The number of economically inactive also grew by 11,686, up 0.3%, on September.

The data showed that the unemployment rate for women (32.1%) is higher than that for men (24.7%).

Epirus–Western Macedonia (29.7%), Macedonia–Thrace (28.7%) and Attica (28.3%) are the regions with the highest unemployment rates.

The Aegean islands recorded the lowest figure (26.3%).

In terms of age group, the largest proportion of unemployed was in the under-25 age group, where 57.9% are registered as unemployed, up from 51.9% in the previous month.

As Elstat has pointed out in the past, not all youth it deems unemployed are looking for work. In the first quarter of this year, the unemployment ratio, which seeks to determine how many of under-25s are looking for work but can’t find it, 71.3% of that age group were deemed inactive, or not looking for work, and 17.2% classed as unemployed. Nevertheless, only 11.5% are recorded as having jobs.

Condemnation

GSEE, the country's private-sector trade union federation, said the figures confirmed the "tragic results of memorandum policies that have led to an unemployment nightmare", adding that it believed the real unemployment rate to be 33%.

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General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE)
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Labour Force Survey, October 2013 - 160 KB