London - Greece's unemployment rate climbed to a record 26.8% in October as the debt-laden country remained sunk in recession, data showed on Thursday.
Greece's jobless rate has almost tripled since it started rising in September 2009 as the country's debt crisis became apparent, and is more than double the average rate in the 17-nation eurozone, which stood at 11.8% in November.
Unemployment among youth aged 15-24 also touched a new record of 56.6% in October, compared with 22.1 percent in the same month four years ago, statistics service ELSTAT said.
A record 1.34 million Greeks were without work in October, up 38% from the same month in 2011, it said.
After months of uncertainty over its future in the eurozone, Greece has managed to avoid bankruptcy but its economy is still sinking under austerity policies imposed by foreign lenders as the price for continued aid.
The influential IOBE think tank on Thursday projected the economy would shrink 4.6% this year, taking a slightly more pessimistic view than the government, which expects the contraction at 4.5%, and the country's foreign lenders, who see it at 4.2%.
IOBE also predicted unemployment would rise further to 27.3% this year, which is set to be the sixth consecutive year of recession.
However, spending cuts helped narrow the country's central government budget gap by 30% in 2012 to €15.91bn ($20.75 billion), the finance ministry said.
The central government budget figure excludes key elements of the general government budget, which is the figure used by the European Union to assess Greece's fiscal performance under its latest EU/IMF bailout programme.
Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.