ATHENS – With the government touting a coming recovery, Greece’s unemployment rate is still 27 percent, not far off record rates and with little signs of improvement.
The rate dipped only 0.1 percent in June from a month before but it still the highest in the European Union more than four years into a crushing economic crisis in which harsh austerity measures have crippled job hopes and created record poverty.
The figures were released by the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat. In the EU28, the average unemployment rate stood at 10.1 percent in August 2014, the lowest since February 2012, and down from 10.2 percent in July.
The rate for the 18 countries in the Eurozone using the euro, seasonally adjusted, was 11.5 percent in August, stable compared with July, but down from 12 percent in August last year.
With 1.3 million people out of work, Greeks are the worst off in the EU, followed by Spain, which saw its unemployment rate at 24.4 percent his July. The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.7 percent) and Germany (4.9 percent).
Youth unemployment remained a big problem across the EU and stood at 51.5 percent for those under 25 in Greece, behind only Spain at 53.7 percent.
The rate for Greek youths had been 58.4 percent in August 2013 but it remains high as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reneged on a promise to create 75,000 jobs for them.
“The level of unemployment has been slowly decreasing in Europe over the last year, but remains unacceptably high,” EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor said in a statement.
“In the absence of overall economic growth, no labor market reform can resolve an economic crisis of the magnitude we are experiencing in Europe,” he added.