Greek Unemployment at Record High

The Greek government's statistical agency this morning reported that the country's unemployment rate in August rose to 25.4%, from 24.8% in July and 18.4% in August of 2011. Among those age 24 and lower, the unemployment rate is 58%, up from 45% in the same month a year ago. That's the highest in the eurozone and the overall unemployment rate is second only to Spain's 25.5%.

The country's parliament this morning approved an additional $17.6 billion in spending cuts and tax increases as it tries to shake loose the next $40 billion tranche of bailout funds. The government must still approve a 2013 budget set for the country by the "troika" of the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission. A vote on the budget is scheduled for Sunday.

In a related development, ECB president Mario Draghi told a press conference today that the ECB essentially has done all it can and will do to help the Greek economy recover. He said that the ECB "cannot do the monetary financing" necessary to keep Greece afloat and that the eurozone's national governments are going to have to step up. That means bond buying, and Germany continues to take a hard line against that.

The euro has slipped a bit more than 0.2% this morning after falling to a two-month low of $1.2717 earlier.

Paul Ausick

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