It’s not THAT bad, is it? Actually, it’s worse than that. In past weeks several reports have reached the surface about the country that is well into its seventh year of recession (a post WWII record). And they all point to the exact same thing; that Greece is a long way from digging itself out of the hole.
Just take a look at the numbers.
• 47 per cent: The current youth unemployment rate in Greece, ranked #1 in the EU, closely followed by Italy with 46 per cent.
• 47 per cent: Incidentally, the number of university students and post-graduates (aged 18-35) that would prefer to find work abroad, according to a survey by the Human Resources Management Agency of the Department of Marketing and Communication of the Athens University of Economics and Business. Seventy-three per cent of the 5,208 millenials asked would prefer to work in the private sector.
• 6 per cent: The projected unemployment rate in Greece, according to a recent report by the IMF. In the year 2060 that is. Today it stands at a proud 23.4 per cent.
• 44.1 per cent: The percentage of the electorate that didn’t vote in the latest general elections one year ago. In 2007 it was 25.85 per cent.
• 35.4 per cent: The projected percentage of the Greek workforce that will be working part-time in the year 2020. No need for despair, it’s only 35.17 per cent now.
• 21.3 per cent: The rise in unpaid various forms of taxes for the first seven months of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015. Arrears for Jan-July 2016 are at €7.6 billion (A$11.35b), while debt sustained from previous years rose to €90,43b (A$134.9b). A total of €56b (A$84.3b) is the total private debt accumulated during the past five years alone, while 4,128,962 individuals and legal entities currently owe to the Greek state.
• 76.9 per cent: The disapproval ratings of Prime Minister Tsipras’ administration, as per two recent polls. New Democracy, the major opposition party, isn’t faring much better, with disapproval ratings at 68.8 per cent.
• 79.9 per cent: The percentage of income that goes to the state, via taxes and social security payments for a small business owner with an €80,000 reported income. Not counting ENFIA.
• 0.9 per cent: The reduction in public sector workers in Greece for the first half of 2016, compared to the same period in 2013. The current − documented − public sector workforce stands at 564,015.
• 40 per cent of employed Greeks are worried about their job security, according to a survey conducted by Nielsen for the second trimester of 2016, the highest number in the EU. Eighty-two per cent believe that 2017 will be another year of recession, despite multiple international reports (and government assurances) projecting a return to growth for the following year. Sources from the Bank of Greece even project that in 2017 the country will see a 2.5 per cent GDP growth rate. But we’ve heard that before.
There are some numbers, though, that offer some glimmer of hope. According to the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority, arrivals at Greek airports for the first eight months of 2016 showed a 8.1 per cent spike from the same period in 2015, with 37.368.155 total check-ins. In August, the busiest summer month, arrivals were up 6.5 per cent from last year. The return of ‘fresh’, not subject to capital controls restrictions, money to the Greek banks as deposits for the month of August is up 3.8 per cent since April, with €4.6b (A$6.9b) returning to the banks since the end of May. The same sources suggest that “the crisis is not over. Not yet. But we will leave it behind, if we act smart”. Let’s see if that holds true, because acting smart is not exactly our strongest suit.