Businesses located in northern Greece remained very pessimistic over their outlook and over new hirings in May, the Northern Greece Business Index 500 (NGBI 500) revealed on Tuesday.

The index, based on a sample of 500 enterprises in the region, recorded one of its lowest readings ever in May, at -40 points, down from -42 in April and -30 in the same month last year.

Around 30 pct of business people in northern Greece said they planned lay-offs in May, down from 36 pct in April, but up from 25 pct in May 2010.

Only 8.0 pct of businesses said their general situation was good, while only 12 pct said they expected things to improve in the next six months, with 50 pct predicting the economic climate will remain flat, while a 38 pct said things will get worse.