Greek jobless total hits record as economic struggles rage on

THE GREEK economy was still mired in a deep recession this June, with unemployment hitting a new record high, despite a nascent return to growth for other Eurozone countries.

Official statistics announced yesterday showed unemployment reaching 27.6 per cent, the highest in the euro area by some distance. In June, the overall rate in the currency union was 12.1 per cent, and only 5.4 per cent in Germany.

Greece’s youth unemployment also climbed as the summer began, up to 58.8 per cent.

The rate of unemployment across all age groups is now nearly four times as high as it was only five years ago as the financial crisis hit, and the number of people employed in Greece has now fallen by over a fifth since 2008.

Recent revisions to Greece’s growth figures showed that the first quarter shrank by 3.8 per cent, rather than the 4.6 per cent that was initially assumed, but the troubled Mediterranean economy still appears to be contracting at some pace.

Earlier this week, the country’s finance ministry declared that it had recorded a budget surplus in the first eight months of the year, not including considerable debt interest payments.

Reaching a budget surplus was one of the major conditions set by finance minister Yannis Stournaras for the country to return to the bond market, along with a return to economic growth.