Greece officially assumed the presidency of the European Union on Wednesday, with the highest unemployment rate in the 28-member bloc. According to the Hellenic Statistical Agency (ELSTAT), the seasonally adjusted jobless rate in October stood at 27.8 percent from an upwards revised 27.7 percent in the month of September. After the previous months’ revisions, the October rate now holds the new high.
There were 1.388 million jobless in October 2013, compared to 497,222 in October 2009 when the crisis in Greece began. After the revisions, September holds the highest figure of unemployed, reaching 1.389 million. Those with jobs fell from 3.62 million in September to 3.59 million in October.
After the revisions, October had the lowest number of employed Greeks. The number of employed in the same month in 2009 was 4.5 million.
Labour force participation, the sum of the employed and the unemployed, dropped again below the 5-million mark as the inactive population increased again to 3.36 million after recording declines in August and September. Greece currently has less than 3.6 million people in employment to support more than 4.7 million unemployed and inactive, an unsustainable ratio by any measure.
Women lead the way in the unemployment stakes with 32.1 percent lacking jobs compared to 24.7 percent for men.
All age groups are severely impacted by the devastating impact of the Greek depression with the unemployment rate having roughly tripled for each bracket compared to October 2009. For 25-34 year olds it stands at 37.8 percent from 13; for 35-44 at 23.8 percent from 8.3; 20.3 percent for the 45-54 age group and 16.6 percent for the 55-64 year olds. Youth unemployment impacts more than half of those between 15 and 24 looking for a job with the rate standing at 57.9 percent.
At a regional level, Epirus-Western Macedonia and Macedonia –Thrace hold the highest rates with 29.7 and 28.7 percent respectively. The Aegean islands have the lowest unemployment rate with 26.3 percent. Attica, including Athens, has a jobless rate of 28.3 percent.
The picture of Greece’s labour market is even grimmer when one considers ELSTAT’s recently released new indicators regarding underemployment and discouraged workers, which form about 6 percent of the labour force that does not reach its full potential in the market.
Savas Robolis, the head of the Labour Institute of Greece’s largest union (GSEE) re-affirmed on Thursday his estimate that the unemployment rate would increase by an additional 1 percent in November and close 2013 above 29 percent.