Greece’s unemployment shot up to 21.9 percent in March, rising sharply from the 15.7 percent rate in the same month last year and up from 21.4 percent in February, the country’s statistics agency said Thursday, according to ekathimerini.com. Greece has been struggling through a financial crisis for the past two years, and has been relying on billions of euros in international rescue loans from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund since May 2010. In return, it has made deep spending cuts and imposed major tax hikes, leaving the country mired in a deep recession. The statistics agency said Thursday that unemployment was up 37.8 percent in March compared with the same month last year. Compared with February 2012, there were 21,625 more people unemployed this March, a 2.1 percent increase. Young people have been the most affected by the job losses, with more than half — 52.8 percent — of those in the 15-24 age group out of work in March, compared to 42 percent in the same month last year.Greece’s financial crisis has also triggered political turmoil. Voters furious at spending cuts that have led to reductions in pensions and salaries and ever increasing taxes punished the two main political parties, the New Democracy conservatives and socialist PASOK, in May 6 elections, turning to smaller and more radical parties on the right and left of the political spectrum. No party won an outright majority on May 6 and coalition talks collapsed after 10 days, forcing the country into new elections on June 17. New Democracy has been running head-to-head with the radical left-wing Syriza party in recent opinion polls. Syriza has vowed to pull Greece out of its bailout commitments if elected.Elsewhere in the crisis-hit eurozone, France’s unemployment rate rose to about 10pc in the first quarter, up from 9.8pc in the previous three months, according to Bloomberg, Mediafax informs. French companies cut jobs in the face of faltering economic growth, statistics from Paris’ Insee showed on Thursday, presenting newly elected President Francois Hollande with a fresh challenge. Some of France’s largest companies, including Air France, Peugeot and Carrefour SA have been looking to reduce costs, leading labour unions to urge Mr Hollande to make good on a campaign to prevent a wave of firings.
ANOFM: Number of unemployed people down almost 16,000 in May
The total number of unemployed people in Romania decreased by 15,903 to 409,938 in May, according to the National Employment Agency (ANOFM).The unemployment rate reported at the end of May 212 nationwide was 4.56 per cent, smaller by 0.17 percentage points compared to April and by 0.47 percentage points compared to May 2011. Regarding the unemployment rate broken down per gender, compared to the previous month, in May 2012, the masculine unemployment rate decreased from 5.02 per cent to 4.82 per cent and the feminine unemployment rate from 4.41 per cent to 4.26 per cent. The unemployment rate dropped in most counties, but the biggest decreases were reported in: Ialomita – 0.83 pp, Gorj – 0.75 pp, Harghita – 0.46 pp, Buzau – 0.41 pp, Caras-Severin – 0.39 pp, Salaj and Constanta – 0,36 pp. The highest unemployment rates were recorded in the following counties: Vaslui (8.64 per cent), Mehedinti (8.64 per cent), Teleorman (8.30 per cent), Dolj (8.13 per cent), Covasna (7.92 per cent), Galati (6.76 per cent), Buzau (6.72 per cent), Alba (6.38 per cent), Gorj (6.20 per cent) and Olt (5.89 per cent).