Greek Unemployment Rate Advances to 24.4 Percent in June

Greece’s unemployment rate jumped to a record in June, approaching a quarter of the workforce as the country’s five-year recession deepened.

The jobless rate rose to 24.4 percent from 23.5 percent in May, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based Hellenic Statistical Authority today. That’s the highest since the agency began publishing monthly data in 2004, and compares with a 23.5 percent median forecast from a Bloomberg survey of three economists.

“This is a grossly disappointing figure,” said Platon Monokroussos, chief economist at Eurobank Ergasias SA. “Unemployment is a lagging indicator of overall economic activity and thus the ratio may not have peaked yet.”

Greece’s recession has been exacerbated by austerity measures imposed to trim a budget deficit that was more than five times the euro-area limit in 2009. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s coalition government is hashing out an 11.5 billion-euro ($14.5 billion) package of budget cuts for 2013 and 2014 needed to keep rescue loans from the euro area and International Monetary Fund flowing.

A breakdown of the statistics showed the female unemployment rate rose to 28.1 percent from 26.8 percent, while the jobless rate for Greeks aged 15 to 24 rose to 55 percent, the highest in the 27-nation European Union, from 54.9 percent the previous month.

The highest regional rate was in Epirus and part of Macedonia in northern Greece, where the rate reached 26.3 percent, up from 24.9 percent in May, according to the statement.

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