Portuguese unemployment has risen again in the first quarter to 17.7 percent.
The new record is bad enough, but pity the young in the jobs market – 42 percent of them are out of work.
The government is expecting unemployment to peak next year at 18.5 percent as the country struggles with its worst recession in over 30 years.
More than 130,000 extra people have swelled the jobless list in the last 12 months. Over 950,000 people are now looking for work on the Portuguese market out of a total workforce of 5.4 million.
The government has repeatedly revised its unemployment estimates upwards since Portugal resorted to an EU/IMF bailout in 2011, and there are fears these latest figures also underestimate the situation. Many young people are escaping the unemployment trap by fleeing to Brazil, Angola or Mozambique, and snubbing favoured former European destinations like France, which have problems of their own.
Bad as this is, the unemployment situation in Greece is much, much worse.
Half of all young people there were out of work all last year, but now the jobless rate for the 15 to 24 yr-old age group is over 64 percent. This is unprecedented, and with an overall rate of 27 percent the number of people dragged into poverty has tripled since Greece’s economic crisis broke in 2009.
It shows that a 32 percent cut in the minimum wage for the young has done nothing to encourage employers to hire young people. Many are heading, along with Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Italian and Spanish workers, to Germany, tired of waiting for six years of recession to end.
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