Greek Labor Analyst Says Jobless Rate Could Hit 29%

The lines at Greece’s unemployment offices, already at a record pace, are going to get a lot longer

ATHENS – With Greece’s unemployment rate already at a record high of 23.1 percent  – and 1.15 million people out of work during a crushing economic crisis, the Director of the Labor Institute at Greece’s largest private sector union GSEE says it’s going to get even worse – a lot. Savas Robolis told SKAI radio that the rate could climb to 29 percent, which would make it the highest in the western world.

He noted that that 674,000 jobs have been lost in Greece over the last four years, and two years since Greece imposed austerity measures on the orders of international lenders, worsening the economy and deepening an enduring recession. He said Greece won’t bring the jobless rate down to 2008 levels until the year 2023. “The resources required to finance the economy will be huge and can’t be found,” he said.

The situation is even worse for those under 25, suffering from an unemployment rate of 54.9 percent, which is making many young Greeks leave their homeland in search of a job and better life elsewhere, many never to return, creating a so-called brain drain of many college graduates who have given up trying to find work in Greece. Those who do find starting salaries of as little as $467 a month – before drastically increased taxes are taken out. Robolis noted that if graduates are without work for five years, what they’ve learned has become obsolete, and so are they.

Greece is surviving on a first series of $152 billion in loans from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which is withholding a second bailout of $173 billion more until the new coalition government makes another $14.16 billion in cuts and lets go of 150,000 workers over the next two years, worsening job prospects even more.