Greek unemployment rises to 27.9 percent

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Unemployment continues to rise in recession-hit Greece, with the overall rate reaching 27.9 percent in June. Even worse, 58.8 percent of people under age 25 are out of work, according to new figures announced Thursday.

The Greek Statistical Authority reported that the jobless rate had risen from 24.6 percent the previous year. In June 2008, before the global financial crisis had kicked off and Greece entered recession, the rate stood at 7.3 percent.

The jobless total stood at just over 1.4 million. In addition, around 3.33 million people in Greece are considered inactive, just shy of the 3.63 million in work.

Years of emergency taxes, pay cuts, and other austerity measures implemented as a condition of international bailout loans have hammered Greece’s private sector.

The conservative-led government has promised to bring Greece out of recession, but unions have launched a new wave of protests against the state staff cuts, arguing that unemployment is already too high.

High school teaching unions and workers at Greece’s largest pension insurer IKA are planning to start rolling strikes next week.

Outside the Health Ministry, scores of doctors and medical staff from public hospitals gathered to protest against staff transfer plans.

The government insisted the new jobless figures showed signs of recovery, with a continued improvement in the number of new jobs created and a declining rate of total jobs lost.

“These results confirm the view that the jobs market is entering a phase of stabilization,” Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis said.

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