Two days after the Labor Ministry’s official announcement regarding programs to boost employment, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) announced on Thursday that the jobless rate in Greece has climbed to 21 per cent from 14.8 per cent a year earlier.

The official unemployment figure came to 1,033,507 while the number of those employed went down to 3,899,319. The economically non-active population totalled 4,424,562 people. Worse still, joblessness affects one in every two young people aged between 15 and 24, and even the 35-44 age group is saddled with an unemployment rate of 18 per cent.

Within 2011 there were 300,000 newly out of work, while the non-active population rose by more than 70,000. The unemployment rate is even greater among women, amounting to 25.3 per cent.

Commenting on the data, the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) warned that the jobless rate is going to climb to one in four this year (25 per cent). It added that “the number of those without a job combined with the reduction in unemployment benefits create an explosive mixture with unpredictable social consequences.

“The sacrifices that Greeks are being put through with the aim of emerging from the crisis are not bearing any fruit,” GSEE stated yesterday, while calling for “immediate and effective growth measures for the bolstering of employment, as well as generous social measures for the support of the unemployed.”

At the same time the number of stores that have closed down in Athens has risen by 30 per cent within a year, according to the Commerce and Services Institute of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE).

An ESEE report published on Thursday shows that 29.6 per cent of shop spaces in the city centre were empty last month, up from 23.4 per cent a year earlier and 24.4 per cent in August. Stadiou Street has suffered the most, due to repeated riots, with 42 per cent of stores shut.

Source: Kathimerini