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Greek unemployment hits 27 percent

Greek unemployment hits 27 percent
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A new record for unemployment in Greece.

It was 27.2 percent of the workforce in January – up from 25.7 percent in December.

The speed of the rise in the number of people out of work reflects the depth of the country’s recession after years of austerity – tax hikes and spending cuts – imposed under its international bailout.

The jobless rate has almost tripled since the country’s debt crisis emerged in 2009. It was more than twice the eurozone’s average unemployment reading of 12 percent.

Youth unemployment – among those aged between 15 and 24 – stood at 59.3 percent in January, up from 51 percent in the same month in 2012.

“The first quarter will remain tough amid the deep recession, despite an improvement in the previous two months due to seasonal hirings,” said Nikos Magginas, an economist at commercial Greek lender National Bank.

The Greek economy is expected to shrink 4.5 percent this year.