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Greek unemployment increases to 27.5 percent at end of 2013

APTOPIX Greece Financial Crisis-1.jpg

Protesting cleaning staff fired by the Finance Ministry marched holding up buckets and mops during a rally outside the Greek parliament in central Athens on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. A 24-hour strike by civil servants disrupted public services in Greece Wednesday as the country’s government struggled to hammer out a deal on further austerity measures with international creditors. Thousands of protesters attended rallies in Athens and other Greek cities, while civil servants have penciled in another 48-hour strike on March 19-20. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (The Associated Press)

Official figures show the unemployment rate in Greece increased to 27.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 as the economy struggled to emerge from a protracted recession.

Thursday's figures from the statistics agency showed the jobless rate increasing from 27 percent in the third quarter of 2013 and from 26 percent in the same three months of 2012.

Greece, a country of about 10 million people, has 1.36 million people out of work, the figures showed. Young people are the most severely affected, with 57 percent of those aged 15-24 jobless.

Greece, which has been affected by a financial crisis since late 2009, depends on rescue loans from the International Monetary Fund and other European countries. In return, it has had to impose deep spending cuts and tax increases.

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