The Greek labour market is continuing to suffer as this fifth year of recession continues. Back in May as the unemployment rate hit a new low their recession was described as ‘one of the worst in post-war Europe’. Two months and a complete government shake up later the situation shows no signs of improvement.
Budget cuts have led to corporate closes and job losses of an unprecedented scale. At a shocking 22.5 percent, and after an increase of 6.5 percent in a year, the Greek unemployment rate is now almost double that of the Euro-zone average.
Since April of this year a further 25,000 people have joined the ranks of the unemployed, bringing the total to 1,109,658. According to a Labour Force Survey conducted by Elstat (the country’s statistics service) the number of economically inactive citizens is almost double that, at 3,360,717. These record breaking figures mean that there is currently a larger proportion of the Greek population without work than in work. The State-run Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) corroborates this bleak assessment, stating that the percentage of unemployed they have to deal with increases each month. Greeks aged 15-24 have been most affected, with over half unemployed. Women have also shown to be 6 percent higher in unemployment rates than men.
Platon Monokroussos (an economist at EFG Eurobank) made a statement that may serve to dampen hopes that summer tourism, which normally accounts for almost 25 percent of jobs, will not signal the end of unemployment growth. ‘Some temporary support may be provided over the summer months, especially from the tourism sector [...] However, given the fact that the jobless rate is a lagging indicator of broader economic activity, unemployment may not have reached its peak yet.’
Revenue for tourism in Greece fell by 15.1 percent in the first quarter of the year, and currently there is nothing to indicate it may experience a significant rise.
Martha Antoniou, a woman searching for work for her son, summed it up when she stated: ‘There’s nothing out there [...] Things are only getting worse.’ Her son, who at 20 falls within the age bracket most affected by unemployment, has been searching for work for two years.
With austerity measures worth 3 billion Euros being implemented in the coming months the opportunities available to the unemployed can only continue to deteriorate, and there is every likelihood that thousands more may soon be joining their ranks.