ATHENS – After showing signs of getting better, Greece’s jobless rate rose to 26.6 percent in the first quarter during ongoing political uncertainty and a lingering economic crisis.
That was a jump of 0.5 percent showing the unemployment problem is a long-term issue and a side effect of brutal austerity measures imposed five years ago on orders of international lenders.
The data from the country’s statistical agency ELSTAT was bleak and doesn’t include people whose year-long reduced benefits have expired.
The highest rate had been 27.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014. About 71.6 percent of Greece’s 1.27 million jobless are long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for at least 12 months, the figures showed.
Athens has already published monthly unemployment figures through March, which differ from quarterly data because they are based on different samples. Quarterly figures are not seasonally adjusted.
Greece’s economy, which was showing signs of recovering, is back in recession and expanded to shrink after a nominal expansion of 0.7 percent last year. The government still expands it will grow 0.5 percent this year, based on the latest European Commission forecasts.
Like all previous governments, the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been unable to do anything about the jobless problem.