Greece: Unemployment down 4.4%, wages up

Encouraging data on the labor market, unemployment and wages came from ELSTATaccording to the Ministry of Labor.

In particular, according to ELSTAT, unemployment “has decreased by 4.4 percentage points since the ND came to power in the country. (from 17.2% when SYRIZA was defeated in the 2019 elections to 12.8% in January 2022).”

Basic data on unemployment:

  • In January 2022, there was the lowest unemployment rate since July 2010 (12.8%) and the lowest number of unemployed since March 2010 (587.1 thousand).
  • The decline in unemployment is more pronounced among women and youth, two population groups that have been particularly hard hit by the crisis.
  • In the third quarter of 2021, the employment rate rose to 63.3% (the highest since the third quarter of 2010), and the number of employees in June 2021 exceeded the 4 million barrier for the first time since August 2011.

“And all this despite the coronavirus crisis and relatively negative unemployment forecasts! These positive developments were not accidental. They became a reality thanks to the tax, fiscal, licensing, labor and insurance policies of the government, which stimulated investment and created new jobs,” the Ministry of Labor said.

ELSTAT data on wages

The positive picture is also confirmed by the data of ΠΣ ΕΡΓΑΝΗthat capture paid employment in the private sector. For four years 2018-2021, the following was recorded:

  • Increase in the average monthly salary by 4.3% (from 1072 to 1118 euros).
  • Reduction in the number of employees receiving up to 700 euros per month by 9.8% and an increase in those who receive more than 1200 euros by 14.8%.

According to the Ministry of Labor, adopted by the government reduced insurance premiums, combined with tax breaks, increased the disposable income of workers, writes iefimerida.gr.

In particular:

  • With a monthly salary of 1000 euros, the allowance increases to 3.2% (355 euros per year), and with a monthly salary of 2000 euros it reaches 3.5% (691 euros per year).
  • For minimum wage earners, the cumulative benefit from the above reforms and the 2% increase in the minimum wage from 1/1/2022 is between 3.97% and 5.5% (after three years of service).

Of course, big problems in the labor market remain. “No one is celebrating the decline in unemployment, including in the youth and women categories. However, significant improvements have been made that should not go unnoticed,” the ministry emphasizes and announces that “in the near future, government policy will favor even more workers and a reduction in the unemployed.”

To do this, the following steps are taken:

  • A new significant increase in the minimum wage from 1 May.
  • Expansion of programs to subsidize the employment of the unemployed. The pace of the respective programs has already tripled compared to the SYRIZA period. For 2022 alone, the OAED provides for subsidizing 86,000 jobs. At the same time, there are programs of the Ministry of Labor “First insurance premium (ensima)” (“πρώτο ένσημο”) for young people and subsidizing insurance premiums for 50,000 enterprises when hiring the unemployed.
  • Further reduction of unemployment, thanks to the development of the economy, as all international organizations predict.
  • Introduction (gradually from June) of a digital work card, which will become a guarantee of compliance with working hours and mandatory overtime pay for employees.



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