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Unemployed youth in Greece now above 60 percent

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 9th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The young in Greece face increasingly dim prospects, with little to no work and little chance for a brighter future. Greek youth unemployment rose above 60 percent for the first time in February. Greece's jobless rate has almost tripled since the country's debt crisis emerged in 2009.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While the overall unemployment rate rose to 27 percent, according to statistics service data released on Thursday, joblessness among those aged between the ages of 15 and 24 jumped to 64.2 percent in February.

Economist Nikos Magginas at National Bank lays it out plainly. "It is by far the highest youth unemployment rate in the euro zone, highlighting the difficulties young people face in entering the labor market despite government incentives to create jobs."

In response to the slack job market, Athens has lowered the minimum monthly wage for those younger than 25 years of age by 32 percent to about 500 euros to entice hiring by employers.

Greece's economy is in its sixth year of recession, battered by tax hikes and spending cuts demanded by its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders. The economy is expected to slump by 4.2 to 4.5 percent this year.

Greece was ordered by the International Monetary Fund this week to do more to crack down on its "notorious" tax evasion problem. The IMF did that Greece had made progress slashing debts and improving competitiveness, but added that "very little progress" had been made in tackling tax evasion.

"The rich are not paying their fair share which has forced an excessive reliance on expenditure cuts and higher taxes on those earning a salary or a pension," the IMF said.

Endemic tax evasion in Greece was a major factor in the collapse of its economy. But it is also making it harder for Greece to shore up its finances.

In a clear sign that patience is running out, the IMF said "decisive correction actions" were needed, including a "deeper political commitment to tax administration reform."

The IMF also said Greece must take a more pro-active solution to trim down its bloated public sector.

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