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May 9, 2013

In Focus: Chart of the Week – Almost 2/3 Young Greek Jobseekers Unable to Find Work

by Fathom Consulting.

Fresh labour market data from Athens offered a sombre reminder of the painful impact of five years of recession amidst harsh austerity measures.

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The Greek youth unemployment rate jumped from 59.3% in January to 64.2% in February.

And that number has risen by more than thirty percentage points over the past three years. Describing the situation as a crisis scarcely does it justice.

ECB President, Mario Draghi, has previously pointed to ‘labour legislations’ that have ‘put all the weight of flexibility upon the young people’ as the main factor behind youth joblessness in the periphery – insisting that ‘there is very little that the ECB can do about that’. But with the headline unemployment rate at 27.0%, Greece suffers from both a dearth of jobs as well as an extremely uneven distribution.

The former is a drag on growth in the short-term, while the latter, through hysteresis, hinders potential output over the medium term. Both threaten social justice and political stability. The number one priority for Greek policymakers, and their counterparts across the ailing periphery, should be to boost employment, and to ensure that any subsequent gains feed down to the young.

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