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Greece’s Unemployment Rate Increased to Record High in July

Greek unemployment rose to a record in July, amid the sixth year of an economic slump that has been deepened by austerity measures tied to bailouts from euro-area governments and the International Monetary Fund.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate increased to 27.6 percent from a revised 27.5 percent in June, the Athens-based Hellenic Statistical Authority said in an e-mailed statement today. The median estimate of three economists in a Bloomberg survey was 28 percent. The June unemployment rate was revised from a previous reading of 27.9 percent.

Greece’s recession and surging unemployment has been worsened by conditions linked to a 240 billion-euro ($325 billion) bailout from the euro area and the International Monetary Fund. The IMF said in a report yesterday that Greece will need further cuts equivalent to 3.5 percent of GDP through 2016.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said the country can’t tolerate any more austerity measures and is banking on a primary surplus of 1.6 percent of GDP next year, after Greece achieves a 0.2 percent surplus a year ahead of schedule this year, to extract concessions from international creditors to lighten the country’s debt load.

“It’s obvious that there can’t be any across-the board-fiscal measures,” Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said in Athens today. “Structural measures? Of course.”

The July unemployment rate is the highest level since the agency began publishing monthly data in 2004. Joblessness among Greeks aged 15 to 24 was 55.1 percent, while the total female rate was 31.1 percent.

Industrial production dropped 7.2 percent in August from the same month a year earlier, the statistics agency said in a separate report today. The biggest decline was in mining and quarrying, which dropped 16.4 percent.

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