UPDATE 1-Greek jobless rate hits new record of 28 pct in November
* November jobless rate climbs to record 28 pct
* Youth unemployment at 61.4 pct
ATHENS, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Greece's jobless rate scaled a new high of 28 percent in November, data showed on Thursday, with no let up in the pace of job shedding despite tentative signs of economic recovery elsewhere.
Unemployment inched up to 28 percent from a revised 27.7 percent in the previous month, as the labour market continued to buckle amid the country's austerity-fuelled economic slump.
Joblessness is a major anxiety for Greece's coalition government which is keen to show there is light at the end of the tunnel after years of harsh austerity and ahead of local government and European parliament elections in May.
"As expected, the labour market showed a lagging reaction to other positive signs in the economy. The increase in unemployment is also due to a loss of support from tourism which was seen in the previous months," said economist Nikos Magginas at National Bank.
He said he expected the jobless rate to rise further in the first quarter of this year as companies continue to restructure and fire workers. Other economic data such as retail sales, manufacturing activity and construction, however, have pointed to signs that the country's recession has bottomed out.
Greek unemployment was more than twice the average rate in the euro zone in November. The number of people out of work in the single currency bloc was 19.2 million, with the jobless rate stuck at a record high of 12.1 percent.
Greece's jobless rate has more than tripled since 2008, the start of a six-year slump which wiped out about a quarter of the country's national output. Athens expects the economy to pull out of recession this year and grow by 0.6 percent.
Fixing Greece's economic imbalances has come at a high cost, hitting hardest those aged 15 to 24. Their jobless rate, excluding students and military conscripts, registered 61.4 percent compared to 23 percent when the crisis started.
With 1.38 million people officially out of work, economists say a turnaround will take time, even if recovery sets in this year. Some are also worried about the prospect of jobless growth.
When Greece's economy grew at rates of 3 to 5 percent it created about 50,000 jobs annually on average, former deputy finance minister Philippos Sachinidis has said.
At that pace it could take about 20 years to absorb the one million of unemployed people the debt crisis created, pointing to the need for incentives to boost domestic and foreign investment.
- Exclusive: Malaysia plane probe narrows on mid-air disintegration - source
- Radar showed missing plane may have turned back: Malaysia military
- Missing Malaysian jet may have disintegrated in mid-air: source |
- Malaysian plane presumed crashed; questions over false IDs |
- Merkel raps Putin as Russian forces tighten grip on Crimea |