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Over Half of Young Greek Workers Have No Job

Over Half of Young Greek Workers Have No Job

The youth unemployment rate in Greece has hit 51 percent, the highest in Europe. Youth unemployment is an almost-as-high 49 percent in Spain. In contrast, it is between 8 and 9 percent in German, the Netherlands and Austria and about 18 percent in the US. With further wage cuts and layoffs on the horizon as the effects of the latest austerity package become a reality, and the country’s economy still shrinking and likely to shrink in more in the wake of the deals the Greek government has had to make with the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank — the so-called “troika” — and its private creditors — banks and hedge funds — it seems only too likely that these unemployment figures will go up before they go down.

The Greek government under President Lucas Papademos seems assured of receiving a 130 billion euro bailout. But analysts reviewing the terms of the deal all but say that the country seems to have handed over its soul and certainly the livelihoods of future generations. Greece has been able, through what the New York Times calls some “strong arm tactics,” to convince private lenders to take a 75 percent loss or haircut on investors’ debt holdings, for a total of 100 billion euros plus in losses. The deal means that the IMG and Greece’s European partners now hold 77 percent of the country’s debt. That is, foreign taxpayers are now helping to pay off Greece’s debts; they are likely to be “much less forgiving” than private lenders in the future.

Greece’s fourth-quarter Gross Domestic Product shrank 7.5 percent; the country is already in its third year of a recession. The country’s ratio of debt to its G.D.P. was 151 percent in 2012 and is projected to be 149 percent in 2013; it is the highest certainly in Europe and second only to Japan among developed nations. Part of the bailout terms included a provision that a system be established in Greece whereby tax revenue must be used to pay off debt obligations before it can be used domestically. The taxes that Greeks themselves pay will not go towards providing for public services in their country for years.

On Friday, the Fitch ratings agency already further downgraded Greece, to a rating of restricted default. The debt restructuring deal and the massive bailouts are, of course, supposed to avert Greece defaulting and fend off economic chaos that would, it is predicted, have cataclysmic effects not only on Europe’s economy, but on that of global markets.

In the meantime, the pain of the austerity measures and the prospects of no future have meant an exodus of young Greeks from the cities back to the countryside and out of their country, to the rest of Europe, to Australia and elsewhere. In Greece’s capital, Athens, more and more stores have “going out of business” signs in the windows.

The one type of shop that you will see more of in Athens are those that will buy the gold and jewelry of residents needing a quick way to make ends meet.

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Photo of graffiti in Athens by the euskadi 11

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15 comments

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4:44PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

What am I missing here trying to figure out the relevancy to the topic and a roll of what appears to be colored toilet paper on a roll?

10:20AM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

Feel so sorry for anyone caught in this predicament.

10:06AM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

The Greek economy needs to heal and it needs the funds of the EU to do it. Now since first funds have been released - it is up to the Greek government to prove itself. If the government cannot shed of it's corruption and mismanagement Greece will be dismissed from the EU and will go under - simple as that.
The unemployment rate for youths is high in Greece - that's true - but it is high for adults as well - because there are no jobs!
For comparision as of July 2011:
Youth unemployment rates in Greece are at 36%, and at 44.3 % in Spain followed by Portugal 27.8% and 31.5 % in Ireland.
But are we really better off here in the U.S.?
According to bls.gov youth unemployment in the U.S. is not much better:
As of July 2011 unemployment rate for youths in the U.S was at 18.1% but at 31% for black youth and 20.1% for Hispanic youth and 17.8 % for female youths.

9:50AM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

Michelle K: I aknowledge your reasoning here - but joining the EU was the only way for Greece not to go under. Greece has been in trouble for decades. During the 1960s and 1970s Greece workers left Greece to flee it's terrible economy and started working in Western European countries - Germany, Netherland, Belgium etc. - all to have a fair chance to make money for honest work. Greece has been atourist destination for many - and tourismn was for years the only thing that kept Greece over water.
Joining the EU - Greece finally has a chance to get rid of corruption and mismanagement.

And if you are speaking of German advertisers - you are speaking of the Deutsche Bank - I guess - they are part of Santander Bank and take notes from the Bank of America - they have branches all over the U.S. - just like American banks have branches in Europe - welcome to "Money talks ...."

11:16PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

while the poor are getting poorer, the rich are getting richer. The following from the CBC news:
"These haven't been easy days for the world's super rich: From last fall's protests against the "1%" to continuing economic turmoil around the globe, sometimes it's been hard out here for a tycoon.

You wouldn't know it, however, from looking at the latest ranking of the world's billionaires from Forbes magazine, an annual tradition that is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. While Carlos Slim, who topped the list for the third time in a row, did see his net worth drop by $5-billion to a measly $69-billion according to the magazine, there were more billionaires overall than ever before, with 1,226 making the cut. (Despite 117 people dropping off the bottom of the list, an extra 128 were added.)

The total net worth of the world's 1,226 richest people? That would be $4.6 TRILLION, which is $100-billion more than last year's list.

So who are these people? A lot of them are American, with 425 of the world's billionaires coming from the United States. Russia, however, came in second with 96 (one more than China), and Moscow is home to more billionaires than any other city, beating out New York and London."

5:15PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

As we are in the same boat as Europe with extremely high youth unemployment then what does that say about capitalism?

3:30PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

I feel sad for these young people with no jobs and no hope of getting a job.

1:10PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

noted

10:06AM PST on Mar 10, 2012

This is why Greece shouldn't have joined the "European Union"! This was predicted what exactly was going to happen, much like cases we have with the foreclosure crisis in the U.S. The Greek's leaders bought into more, and got into a "lease" than what they could afford. Also Germany whose in charge of the E.U isn't going to let you get away with "something for nothing" or else screw you over. The Germans involved here like car or home advertisers whom promote their products for "zero percent financing", yet they sold to Greeks' leaders to think they were getting a good deal they couldn't refuse.

7:21AM PST on Mar 10, 2012

According to NY Times:Among the members of the class of 2010, just 56 percent had held at least one job by this spring.
That's in the U.S.

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