Greece’s jobless rate hit a new record in February as austerity measures to reduce deficits deepened the recession and led to more job cuts.
The unemployment rate rose to 15.9 percent from January’s 15.1 percent – one year earlier it was 12.1 percent of the workforce.
It was the highest reading since Greece started compiling monthly data in 2004.
Young people were hit hardest with 40.4 percent of those under the age of 24 out of work. The rate was 19.9 percent for those aged 25 to 34.
Economic woes are threatening to drive Greece’s unemployment close to that of fellow euro zone member Spain, where the jobless rate rose to 21.3 percent in the first quarter of 2011, more than double the European Union average.
The average jobless rate in the 17 countries sharing the euro dropped to 9.9 percent in February from 10 percent in January.
The European Union expects Greece’s jobless rate to average 14.6 percent this year and hit 14.8 percent in 2012.