Unemployment in Greece fell to 12.8% of the workforce in February from 16.1% in February 2021 and 12.9% in January 2022, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Wednesday.
Specifically, the number of unemployed totaled 603,025, down 14.2% from February 2021, but up 1.2% from January 2022. The unemployment rate among women was 16.1% in February from 19.7% last year and among men it fell to 10.1% from 13.3%, respectively.
The unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group was 32.1% in February from 40% in February 2021, while in the 25-74 age group it dropped to 11.8% from 15%.
The number of employed people totaled 4,118,939, up 12.4% from February 2021 and up 2.8% from January 2022.
Greece achieved the greatest drop in unemployment in Europe, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in Parliament on Wednesday, during a discussion on an employment bill called "Jobs Again".
Unemployment is the greatest threat, he said, the government is facing since coming to power. "Despite great obstacles, data shows that our efforts are paying off: from the summer of 2019 to February 2022, unemployment dropped from 17.2% to 12.8%. It's the greatest drop in Europe, and means that over 200,000 new jobs were created and we surpassed the landmark of 4 million employed."
Mitsotakis noted however that the improvement in indicators was not a cause for celebration, as Greece continues to have the second highest unemployment rate in Europe after Spain, "and a chronic problem of low wages."
The negative forecasts by the main opposition that the pandemic would lead to a burst of layoffs and a rise in unemployment were proven wrong to the benefit of employees, the premier added, commenting also on the low attendance rate of opposition parties at the Parliament discussion, particularly that of Movement for Change (KINAL).
The government tried to resolve the rise in household expenditures that resulted from energy price hikes, the Greek premier said, noting that a 200-euro subsidy for low-income families will be disbursed starting next week, while the government raise of the minimum wage will be effected as of May 1.
As he said, the bill on boosting employment was an attempt to refocus on linking the needs of businesses with specialised services offers, and upgrade skills in order to distinguish between those who really need state support and those who need to improve their skill sets.
Voting on the bill will take place on Thursday.