Greece’s unemployment rate has hit new highs.
Even amid tentative signs of economic recovery in the country, there is no let up in the pace of job shedding.
Economists expect things to get worse in the early part of this year as companies continue to restructure and fire workers.
“As expected, the labour market showed a lagging reaction to other positive signs in the economy. The increase in unemployment is also due to a loss of support from tourism which was seen in the previous months,” said economist Nikos Magginas at National Bank.
One Greek jobseeker explained that the only thing available for most people is temporary, government-funded work.
She said: “We certainly don’t see any positive signs, nothing to indicate that there are jobs. Everyone’s looking, but there are just these programmes that last for five months, but then you’re out of work again. You have a break from being on the dole, but it’s just for five, or at most six months depending on the programme.”
The latest figures that have been released are for November 2013.
Overall unemployment inched up to 28 percent. It had been 27 percent a year earlier and 27.7 percent in October.
The youth jobless total reached 61.4 percent in November, up a full two percent from November 2012.
Though life remains extremely difficult for millions, with 14 percent of the Greeks living in extreme poverty according to a survey carried out late last year, Greece’s austerity-fuelled economic slump is starting to ease.
There have been improvements in retail sales, manufacturing activity and construction, but that is a long way from feeding through into substantial job creation.
Symela Touchtidou, the euronews business reporter in Athens, concluded: “The Greek government is preparing to borrow on the international markets for the first time in four years. A successful auction of bonds would mean Greece becoming the latest country to exit the bailout programme.
“Nevertheless, Greece is the only country that needed a bailout where unemployment keeps rising and has reached unprecedented levels by European standards, without any sign that this tendency reversing in the near future.”