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Greek Unemployment Climbed to Record 26.8% in October

Greece’s unemployment rate extended its record high, climbing to 26.8 percent in October as the country heads into a sixth year of recession.

The rate rose from 26.2 percent in September, revised higher from an earlier figure of 26 percent, the Athens-based Hellenic Statistical Service said in an e-mailed statement today. Joblessness is the highest since the agency began publishing monthly data in 2004.

In November, Greece’s coalition government approved new austerity measures needed to clinch aid under two bailouts from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The recession and deepening labor slump have worsened amid spending cuts and tax increases imposed to reduce a budget shortfall that was more than five times the euro-area limit in 2009.

Job creation is the top priority for Greece, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said yesterday at a presentation of a development plan for the country in 2013. The economy will shrink as much as 4.5 percent this year and unemployment will exceed 26 percent in both 2013 and 2014, the Bank of Greece said on Dec. 3.

Almost half of working-age Greeks are seeking jobs abroad, according to a survey last month by recruitment specialist Adecco. Thirty-six percent of those questioned said the main reason they want to work in another country is the difficulty of entering, or reintegrating into, Greece’s job market.

A breakdown of today’s release showed the unemployment rate among women was 30.4 percent, compared with 23.1 percent in October 2011. The rate for Greeks aged 15 to 24 was 56.6 percent, up from 46.7 percent a year earlier.

The highest regional jobless rate was in Attica, which includes the capital Athens and is the country’s largest region in terms of population, at 28.3 percent, the statistical service said. The lowest rate was on Aegean Sea islands, including the popular holiday destinations of Mykonos and Santorini, at 16.9 percent.

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