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Unemployment in Greece Falls to 11-Year Low in December 2021

Euro coins, bank notes
The Greek unemployment rate fell to an 11-year low in December 2021. Credit: Public Domain

Greece’s unemployment rate fell to 12.8% in December 2021, marking a significant decline over December 2020’s 13.4% and November 2020’s 15.5%, according to official figures released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Wednesday.

During 2021, Greece experienced wild swings in terms of its unemployment rate, as did much of Europe, but it embarked on a downward course in May.

In January of 2021, Greece’s unemployment rate was 16.3% but it peaked at 17.3% in April.

In December of 2021, the EU average unemployment rate was 6.4%. which was a historic low in December.

“The eurozone ended 2021 — the year after the worst recession since World War II — with its lowest ever unemployment rate. A testimony to the success of our collective response to this crisis,” said Paolo Gentiloni, the EU economics affairs commissioner.

Previously, the lowest unemployment rates for both the 19 countries sharing the single currency and the EU-27 — of 7.2 percent and 6.5 percent respectively — had been recorded in March 2020.

11-year low unemployment rate marks success after the financial crisis

Greece’s unemployment rate was last below 13% way back in September of 2010, at 12.6%. It rose significantly to reach a staggering 28% in September 2013, peaking around the height of the financial crisis.

Despite COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the number of unemployed Greeks dropped below 600,000 in December of 2021. The significant decline — from 16.3% in January 2021 to 12.8% in December — is even more surprising considering the air-tight pandemic restrictions that were in effect at the time, which were then followed by the re-opening of the economy and the extremely positive tourism season.

Youth unemployment still remains stubbornly high in Greece

The unemployment rate among Greek citizens aged 15-24 years still remains stubbornly high, however, at 27%, while those above that age (25-74) had a 12.1% unemployment rate.

In December 2021, the EU average youth unemployment rate was 14.9%.

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