Greece's jobless rate rises to 23.6 percent in fourth quarter

People eat at a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s jobless rate rose to 23.6 percent in October-to-December from 22.6 percent in the third quarter, data from the country’s statistics service showed on Thursday.

About 71.8 percent of Greece’s 1.12 million jobless are long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for at least 12 months, the figures showed.

Young people aged 15 to 24 faced a jobless rate of 45.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared to 48.6 percent in the same quarter a year ago.

The highest unemployment rate was recorded in the first quarter of 2014, when joblessness hit 27.8 percent.

Athens has already published monthly unemployment figures through June, which differ from quarterly data because they are based on different samples and are seasonally adjusted. Quarterly figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Greece’s economy contracted at an annual 1.1 percent pace in the fourth quarter due to weak public consumption and net exports.

The European Commission and Greece’s central bank project the economy will recover this year with gross domestic product seen growing by 2.5-2.7 percent.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos