October 6, 2016 / 9:16 AM / a year ago

Greek unemployment drops to 23.2 pct in July, still highest in euro zone

ATHENS, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Greece’s jobless rate eased to 23.2 percent in July from 23.4 percent in the previous month, statistics agency ELSTAT said on Thursday.

The number of officially unemployed reached 1.12 million people. Hardest hit were young people aged 15 to 24 years, with their jobless rate dropping to 42.7 percent from 48.6 percent in the same month a year earlier.

The reading in July, based on seasonally adjusted data, was the lowest since March 2012 when unemployment stood at similar levels. The jobless rate hit a record high of 27.9 percent in September 2013.

Greece’s unemployment rate has come down from record highs but remains more than double the euro zone’s average of 10.1 percent in July.

The economy expanded by a modest 0.2 percent in April-to-June compared to the first quarter but is expected to remain in recession this year as the country feels the full brunt of austerity measures approved under its third bailout.

The government expects unemployment will drop to 22.4 percent next year, based on its draft 2017 budget which sees the economy expanding by 2.7 percent. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos)

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