The unemployment rate in Greece jumped to 15.9 percent in the first quarter of 2011, up from 14.2 percent in the previous quarter and 11.7 percent in the corresponding quarter of 2010. This was announced on Thursday by Greece's independent statistical authority ELSTAT in a report.
The number of employed amounted to 4,194,429 persons while the number of unemployed amounted to 792,601 in Q1 2011.
The number of employed persons decreased by 2.4 percent compared with the previous quarter and by 5.2 percent compared with Q1 2010. The number of unemployed persons increased by 11.3 percent compared with the previous quarter and 35.1 percent compared with the 1st Quarter of 2010.
The unemployment rate for females (19.5 percent) is considerably higher than the unemployment rate for males (13.3 percent). Across age groups, the highest unemployment rate is recorded among young people aged 15-29 years (30.9 percent). For young females, the unemployment rate is 35.8 percent.
As regards the educational attainment level, the unemployment rate is highest among persons who have not attended school (23.4 percent), and 18.9 percent for those who have not completed lower secondary education (International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2 programmes). The lowest unemployment rates are observed among tertiary education graduates who have completed ISCED 5AS and ISCED 6 programmes (9.8 percent), and among those who have completed ISCED 5A (10.6 percent).
88.9 percent of unemployed persons are looking for a full time job as employees. More specifically, 51.7% of those looking for job as employees are looking exclusively for a full time job, while 39.7% are looking for full time job, but, if needed, would accept to work part time.
A significant part of the unemployed persons (6.8%) did not accept a job offer, during the 1st Quarter of 2011, because of various reasons. The main reasons reported were:
a) the location of the job was not suitable (25.4%),
b) the wage was not satisfactory (25.1%),
c) the working hours were not convenient (16.3%).
The percentage of the “new” unemployed, that is the percentage of persons first entering the labour market, is 22.8%. We should note that the percentage of the “long term” unemployed, that is the percentage of persons that have been looking for a job for more than 1 year (irrespectively of being “new” or “old” unemployed), is 46.6 percent.
The unemployment rate is higher for persons of foreign nationality (19.8 percent) compared with those of Greek nationality (15.5 percent). On the contrary, the percentage of the economically active persons with foreign nationality is much higher than the corresponding percentage for persons of Greek nationality (73.3 percent compared to 52.0 percent).
The geographical areas (NUTS II regions) with the highest unemployment rate are South Aegean (24.3 percent) and West Macedonia (22.3 percent). The lowest unemployment rates are observed in Peloponnese (12.4 percent) and North Aegean (12.6 percent).
During the 1st Quarter of 2011, 84,278 persons who were unemployed one year ago found a job. During the same period, 47,690 persons who were inactive one year ago, got into employment. On the contrary, 195,193 persons who were working one year ago, during the 1st Quarter of 2011 are unemployed and 101,609 persons, who were working, are now inactive. In addition, 102,329 persons who were inactive one year ago, during the 1st Quarter of 2011 entered labour market and are searching for a job.
By sector of economic activity, the figures show a decline in employment in all sectors compared to the 1st Quarter of 2010.  In the primary sector the decrease was 7.7 percent, in the secondary 13.8 percent and the tertiary sector 2.2 percent.
The percentage of part-time employment was low and amounted to 6.8 percent of total employed. The percentage of part time workers who choose to work part time because they cannot find a full time job is 54.1 percent, while 5.9 percent choose a part time job because they are looking after children or incapacitated adults.
The percentage of employees is estimated at 63.4 percent of the total of employed persons and is by far lower than the mean percentage of employees in the European Union which is 80 percent.