Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ hopes of putting the floundering Greek economy on the road to recovery took another hit with the release of figures showing that the country’s unemployment rate hit another record high and was at 25.1 percent in July.
The jobless rate rose from 24.8 percent a month earlier, according to the country’s statistics service ELSTAT. Nearly two million people in Greece are without work, including those whose year-long benefits have run out.
Austerity measures imposed in the last 2-1/2 years on the orders of international lenders have largely backfired and worsened the plight of many Greeks, closed 68,000 businesses and is shrinking the economy by 7 percents. Samaras’ uneasy coalition government is set to implement more of the same conditions in a $17.45 billion spending cut and tax hike plan needed to get the release of a $38.8 billion foreign aid package.
The unemployment has risen for the last 35 months and nearly 55 percent of those under 25 are without work. Unemployment benefits have also been cut as has the minimum wage making it difficult even for those with jobs to make ends meets. Greece’s jobless rate is more than twice the 11.4 percent average in the 17-member Eurozone of countries using the euro.