Unemployment at 14.8% in December, ELSTAT reports

Unemployment levels in Greece shot up to 14.8 percent in December 2010, up from 10.2 percent in December 2009 and 13.9 percent in November 2010, Greece's independent statistical authority ELSTAT reported on Wednesday.

The number of registered unemployed in the country rose to 733,645, increasing by 228,535 relative to the same month in 2009 (an increase of 45.2 percent) and by 41,068 or 5.9 percent compared with November 2010, in spite of the higher economic activity due to the holidays.

The total number of those in employment in December 2010 came to 4,233,765 individuals, decreasing by 223,893 in comparison with December 2009 (5.0 percent decrease) and by 73,290 individuals compared with November 2010 (1.7 percent decrease). The population that was not economically active in December 2010 came to 4,353,149 individuals.

Rates of unemployment remained highest and rose rapidly among young people aged 15-24, standing at 39 percent in December 2010 (up from 28.9 percent in December 2009). In the 25-34 age group unemployment levels were 21 percent (up from 13.7 percent in December 2009) and for 35-44 years old they stood at 12.2 percent (from 8.9 percent in December 2009).

Unemployment continued to be significantly higher among women than men, rising to 18.7 percent in December 2010 from 14.8 percent in December 2009. Rates of unemployment for men were 11.9 percent in December 2010, up from 6.9 percent in December 2009.

By region, the highest levels of unemployment were recorded in the Ionian Islands (23.1 percent in December 2010 from 15 percent in December 2009), Western Macedonia (17.7 percent in December 2010 from 12 percent in December 2009), Central Macedonia (16.5 percent in December 2010 from 11.4 percent in December 2009, Eastern Macedonia-Thrace (15.6 percent from 12.5 percent) and the Southern Aegean (15.5 percent from 13.6 percent).

In Attica, where the overwhelming majority of Greeks reside, unemployment was 14 percent in December 2010, up from 9.2 percent in December 2009.

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