Greek unemployment tops 27 percent to hit new record in January
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's unemployment rate scaled a new record of 27.2 percent in January, data showed on Thursday, reflecting the depth of the country's recession after years of austerity imposed under its international bailout.
The jobless rate has almost tripled since the country's debt crisis emerged in 2009, and was more than twice the euro zone's average unemployment reading of 12 percent. The latest figure rose from a revised 25.7 percent in December, the country's statistics service ELSTAT said.
"The first quarter will remain tough amid the deep recession, despite an improvement in the previous two months due to seasonal hirings," said Nikos Magginas, an economist at commercial Greek lender National Bank.
Youth unemployment - among those aged between 15 and 24 - stood at 59.3 percent in January, up from 51 percent in the same month in 2012.
Greece's economy is in its sixth year of recession, battered by tax hikes and spending cuts demanded by its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders. The economy is expected to shrink 4.5 percent this year.
The high jobless rate is keeping Greeks pessimistic about their economic prospects.
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
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