Greece’s jobless rate continues its steady increase.
Overall unemployment climbed to 27.4 percent of the workforce in the first three months of this year, according to the Greek Statistics Agency.
That was up from 26 percent at the end of last year and 22.6 percent a year ago.
One job seeker in Athens – an artist – painted a depressing picture: “There is no light at the end of the tunnel. First of all wages are being reduced, and they will be further reduced. Second, everything continues to be expensive, and third, working for nothing or working for 100 euros will create jobs, but if this is a recovery, then no thanks, I don’t want any part of that.”
The unemployment totals are expected to dip in the current quarter .. from hiring for the summer holiday season.
Tourism accounts for almost one in five jobs in Greece and the prime minister, Antonis Samaras, has said they are looking for an all time record number of visitors this year – at least 17 million.
Many of them will come because Greece is now cheap to visit. Alexandros Vassilikos, President of the Attica Hotel Association, said: “The crisis affected the destination a lot, because of the fall in demand, we had a fall in prices that was over 40 percent over the past four years, but again we have to look at the positive side of this, which is that today we offer much better value for money.”
The only trouble with that is that visitors looking for a bargain tend to spend less.
The jobs created by tourism help bring down the unemployment totals, but only temporarily.
They are also not going to relaunch the economy, which has shrunk by more than 20 percent in the past five years, given that many of those positions are minimum wage.