Greek unemployment dips to 26.4 percent

Greek unemployment dips to 26.4 percent but experts say bigger improvements not imminent

Associated Press
Greek unemployment dips to 26.4 percent
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People line up for free meat lunches in Athens on Thursday, March 7, 2013. It's called "Barbecue Thursday" _ a raucous pre-Easter celebration for meat lovers. But this year's Tsiknopempti festivities, a fixture of the Carnival season, coincided with the Greek Statistical Authority announced unemployment in Greece has dipped marginally to 26.4 percent, according to data for December. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Unemployment in Greece dipped marginally to 26.4 percent in December, but experts warn that more significant improvements are unlikely in coming months.

The Greek Statistical Authority said Thursday the November figure had been revised from 27 percent originally, a record high, to 26.6 percent. The agency said the discrepancy was due to a seasonal adjustment recalculation.

The rate has fluctuated around the record levels in recent months, with some economists — as well as a government-funded study — predicting an increase to 30 percent this year.

About a million Greeks have lost their jobs since the start of the recession in late 2008. Only 3.7 million people work out of a population of nearly 11 million.

Unemployment has surged amid austerity measures demanded by rescue lenders from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.

Debt inspectors are in Athens to press for faster cuts to public sector staff. The conservative-led government has resisted the stronger pressure to fire civil servants, insisting that staff reduction targets can be met through attrition.

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