March 9, 2017 / 11:09 AM / in 4 months

Greek unemployment steady in December, euro zone's highest

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ATHENS, March 9 (Reuters) - Greece's jobless rate stood at 23.1 percent in December, unchanged from an upwardly revised reading in the previous month, statistics agency ELSTAT said on Thursday.

The number of officially unemployed reached 1.1 million people. Hardest hit were young people aged 15 to 24 years, with their jobless rate dropping to 45.2 percent from 50.1 percent in the same month a year earlier.

The reading in December, 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 jobless rate has come down from record highs but remains more than double the euro zone's average of 9.6 percent in January.

The country's economy contracted in the final quarter of 2016, performing worse than projected. Economic output slumped 1.2 percent compared to the previous quarter.

The government expects the jobless rate to drop to 22.6 percent this year, based on its 2017 budget which sees the economy expanding by 2.7 percent. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos)

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