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Greek unemployment in May was the lowest it’s been in nearly three years

A Greek flag flutters in the wind as tourists visit the archaeological site of the Acropolis hill in Athens.
Reuters/Ronen Zvulun
Nice views, crummy labor market.
By Melvin Backman
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Greek unemployment hit 25% in May, according to the Hellenic Statistics Authority (pdf). As hard as it might be to believe, that qualified as a bit of good news, considering it represented the lowest level since June 2012.

Still, May marked the 35th straight month that at least one in four Greeks who wanted a job couldn’t find one. And in all likelihood, jobs reports in the coming months will look a lot worse. That’s because Greece reports its unemployment rate on a longer lag than most countries, and the May reading is the last look at unemployment before “grexit” went from a financial buzzword to a very real and scary possibility.

Despite the very modest improvement to the overall rate, youth unemployment was still unimaginably high in May (51.8%). But with further austerity on the way as part of Greece’s third bailout deal, May might be as good as it gets for a while.

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