Greek unemployment jumped to 15.1 pct in January from 11.3 pct in the same month last year and up from 14.8 pct in December 2010, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursdsay.

The statistics service, in a report, said the number of unemployed people in the country totaled 756,795 in January, up by 189,663 or 33.4 pct compared with January 2010, or by 23,149 people or 3,2 pct compared with December 2010.

The financially non-active population in the country was 4,302,315 persons, while the number of employed people totaled 4,267,584 in January this year. The number of employed people was down 178,159 compared with January 2010 (a decline of 4.0 pct), although it was up by 33,820 (0.8 pct) compared with December 2010.

Young people were hit hard by unemployment, with the unemployment rate among people aged 15-24 at 37 pct in January 2011 from 30.4 pct in January 2010, while the rate in the age group between 25-34 was 21.3 pct (14.6 pct last year) and in the 34-44 age group was 12.6 pct (9.7 pct last year).

The unemployment rate among women was 18.8 pct (14.9 pct in January 2010) and in men 12.4 pct (8.7 pct in January last year).

Western Macedonia (22.7 pct), Southern Aegean (20.2 pct), Eastern Macedonia-Thrace (19.3 pct), Central Greece (17 pct) and Ionian Islands (17 pct) recorded the highest unemployment rates among the country's regions, while the Northern Aegean (7.1 pct) recorded the lowest unemployment rate although the rate was more than double compared with 3.0 pct in January 2010.

The unemployment rate in Attica was 14.6 pct in January from 10.7 pct last year.

GSEE calls for change in economic policy

The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), commenting in an announcement on data publicised by the Greek Statistical Service on Thursday on the 15.1 percent unemployment rate, called for an immediate "change in economic policy, before our country and Europe are turned into a continent with prospering figures and indexes but impoverished citizens."

It also raises the issue of "strengthening the unemployment bonus, and the prolongation of the period of its payment."