Late tonight, the Hellenic Statistical Authority, Greece’s equivalent to the Bureau of Statistics, revealed data showing the country’s unemployment rate rose to a record 21.0% in December.
That’s up from 20.9% in November, and from 14.8% in December 2010.
More than 1 million Greeks can’t find a job.
By gender, 25.3% of females are out of work.
When it comes to unemployment by age groups, young adults 15-24 years are being hardest hit, with 51.1% with no job.
Now compare that with Australia, where the unemployment rate rose by 0.1% to 5.2% in January.
While we’ve been hearing about the closure of many manufacturing plants, particularly in Victoria over the past few months, and of white collar job losses, we’re doing pretty well when you compare it to countries like Greece.
Still, many economists expect our unemployment rate to rise.
ANZ for example is predicting the jobless rate will climb to 5.5% by the end of the year.
But our economy has one key mechanisim it can trigger to assist with the rising unemployment rate, and that’s official interest rates.
At 4.25%, interest rates here are amoung the higest in the industrialised world.
That gives the RBA room to move to cope with any drags on our economy, to help kick it along.
That’s also one of the reasons why the Reserve Bank board isn’t drastically cutting rates. Instead it’s taking a wait and see approach, and building up ammunition to move on rates when the time comes.