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Greece’s November Unemployment Rate Increases to 20.9%

Greece’s unemployment rate rose in November to a record high, while declining industrial production in December indicated a deepening economic contraction in the final quarter.

The unemployment rate rose to 20.9 percent, from 18.2 percent the previous month, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said today in an e-mailed statement. The November rate was the highest since the data series began in 2004. Industrial output fell 11.3 percent in December from a year earlier, according to a separate statement.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and leaders of the three political parties supporting his interim government have been negotiating on measures ranging from a reduction in the minimum wage and lower pensions to immediate public-sector job cuts. The measures have been demanded in return for a European Union-led 130 billion-euro ($173 billion) bailout package.

Further financing may be needed, as the economy shrinks more rapidly than originally estimated. The draft of a new financing deal between Greece, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, obtained by Bloomberg News, predicts a contraction of 4 percent to 5 percent this year, in part because of a worsening external environment. That compares with a forecast of 3 percent contained in a December report on Greece by the IMF.

November unemployment among those under 24 was 48 percent, up from 35.6 percent in the year-earlier month. The highest regional rate was 23.8 percent in Macedonia-Thrace, in northern Greece. Unemployment in the Attica region, which includes Athens, was 21.1 percent, up from 13.9 percent a year earlier.

Greece’s consumer price index was 2.3 percent higher in January than a year earlier, compared with 2.2 percent in December, the statistical authority said in a separate statement.

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