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UPDATE 1-Greek unemployment drops to 15.8% in December, lowest since March 2011

UPDATE 1-Greek unemployment drops to 15.8% in December, lowest since March 2011

· 03/17/2021 06:59
UPDATE 1-Greek unemployment drops to 15.8% in December, lowest since March 2011

Adds details

- Greece's jobless rate dropped to 15.8% in December from 16.2% in the previous month, data from the country's statistics service, ELSTAT, showed on Wednesday, the lowest rate since March 2011.

Seasonally adjusted data showed the number of unemployed at 726,360 people, with those aged up to 24 the hardest hit.

Among people aged 15 to 24, the jobless rate rose to 34.2% from 33% in the same month in 2019. Greece's jobless rate, which hit a record high of 27.8% in September 2013, has been falling but remains the highest in the euro zone.

Joblessness affected women more than men, with the respective rates in December at 19.5% and 12.8%, the data showed.

Greece's economy shrank by 8.2% last year, less than expected, despite tough restrictions to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic. nL5N2L32NA

The European Commission last month cut its forecast for Greece's economic growth this year to 3.5%, saying restrictions to limit the pandemic will slow its recovery.

With COVID-19 infections surging, the government is increasingly struggling to manage the public health emergency, with state hospitals under severe stress despite an ongoing lockdown.

Athens accounts for roughly half of the COVID-19 cases detected in Greece each day and the capacity of public hospitals to deal with the influx of patients is being stretched.

Greece's 2021 budget projects the economy will grow by 4.8% this year after last year's slump. Joblessness is expected to fall to 17.9% from an estimated 18.9% in 2020.


(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos, editing by Larry King)

((george.georgiopoulos@thomsonreuters.com; +30210 337 6437; Reuters Messaging: george.georgiopoulos.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))