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Friday Question: What is the Greek unemployment rate?

Tom Winnifrith
Friday 13 July 2012

I will give you a clue. The official unemployment rate is 22.5%. Actually that is not a very good clue because like every other economic statistic churned out here in order to obtain/maintain Euro membership it is, ahem… a lie. If I offered you a spread of 25-26 would you buy or sell? Buy you say? You win.

The figures are massaged in a number of ways but here are the main three.

1. If you are long term unemployed (and more and more folk are) you may lose some entitlements (not a lot) and so come off the official tally.

2. If you earn some money stacking shelves part time you get different benefits. I would argue that such folk should count for at least half an unemployed person. The plain truth is that they cannot get jobs.

3. And this is a hoot. The grateful EU taxpayer funds quite large scale 3 month “learning courses.” What do these students learn? Well not a lot but that gets them a grant to improve themselves from the Evil Empire and gets them off the Greek register.

My sources today – yes I have been working – tell me that the real unemployment rate (i.e. economically inactive adults who want work but cannot get it) is 27%. And BOTH rates will rise steadily whatever happens, rapidly if the EU’s austerity and privatization programme is fully implemented.

At what “real unbodged” rate do we reach the stage where society ceases to function normally? 30%? You will be there by September when seasonal summer tourist jobs go. 40%? Implement the EU’s demands in full now and you will be there by 2013. 50%? Heaven only knows. I hope to serve up some poverty porn pictures over the weekend but I have already seen plenty which is pretty shocking.

PS. And before Mark Wadsworth asks: the effect of all of this on a UK house price crash will not be material. If anything it will assist at the lower end of the spectrum as Greece suffers net emigration to other EU countries which are less economically challenged and that includes the UK

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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