Greek GDP Shrank 6% in Fourth Quarter Amid Jobless Crisis

Greece’s economy contracted for an 18th straight quarter and the unemployment rate rose to a record, leaving more than six in 10 young Greeks out of work.

Gross domestic product declined 6 percent in the three months through December from the same period last year after dropping a revised 6.7 percent in the previous quarter, the Athens-based Hellenic Statistical Authority said in an e-mailed statement today. Greece’s jobless rate rose to 27 percent in November from 26.6 percent the month before, the statistics agency said in a separate release today.

“Despite an improvement in confidence, fiscal measures continued to be a drag on economic activity in the final quarter,” said Nicholas Magginas, an economist at National Bank of Greece SA. “We expect there will be a slowdown in the pace of the recession in the first half of this year, even though the pressure from the fiscal measures will remain strong.”

Greece’s economic slump, which has now entered a sixth year, has been exacerbated by austerity measures imposed by creditors to reduce its budget deficit. The country has received 240 billion euros ($321 billion) in loan pledges from the euro area and International Monetary Fund since 2010 and carried out the biggest sovereign debt restructuring in history last year.

The unemployment rate is the highest since Greece began releasing monthly data in 2004, and was 61.7 percent for Greeks aged 15 to 24, the highest in the 27-nation European Union.

GDP contracted 6.4 percent in 2012, according to Bloomberg calculations. The IMF in January estimated Greece’s economy contracted 6 percent in 2012 and will contract another 4.2 percent this year before returning to growth in 2014.

Greece doesn’t publish seasonally adjusted GDP data and quarter-on-quarter rates.

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