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

ATHENS, Greece – Unemployment in Greece dipped marginally to 26.4 per cent 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 per cent originally, a record high, to 26.6 per cent. 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 per cent 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.