Friday, March 16, 2012

Unemployment During the Greek Economic Crisis from 2008 to 2011

In Q4 2011, there were 1,025,900 unemployed people according to the Greek Statistical Authority, as the unemployment rate reached 21%. Who are the unemployed and how has their composition changed in this crisis?

Gender. There are as many unemployed men (49.5%) as women, even though the unemployment rate for women (25%) is higher than that for men (18%). Due to higher male unemployment, the ratio between female and male unemployment has changed: while males generally accounted for ~40% of the total people who are unemployment, they now make up 50%.


Age. Around 41% of the people who are unemployed are aged 30 to 44, bracketed on either end by the people who are 25-29 (20% of the total unemployed) and 45-64 (23% of the unemployed). The rise in unemployment during the economic crisis has been driven by a big increase in the number of people aged 30-44 who are unemployed – in fact, around 42% of the people who have become unemployed between Q4 2008 and Q4 2011 were in this age group. There have been smaller but equally noticeable increases in the people who are unemployment aged 25-29 and 45-64.

When it comes to unemployment rates for various age groups, however, the story is different. The incidence of unemployment is highly correlated with age as younger groups have higher unemployment rates than older ones and with females having higher unemployment rates than men. For young people, the unemployment rate ranges from 48% to 59% for men and from 55% to 70% for women, underscoring the difficulty in finding jobs for people who are just starting their careers.

Education. Around 37% of the people who are unemployed are people whose education extends just to a high school diploma. This group also accounts for 38% of the growth in unemployment between the end of 2008 and the end of 2011. After people with only a secondary education, people with a vocational degree make up the second largest unemployed group, making up 20% of the total.

Regarding unemployment rates, people with all educational levels have seen a marked increase in their unemployment rates, ranging from a 131% increase in the unemployment rate of people with a vocational degree to a 218% increase for people with only a primary education (the growth for people with no primary education is greater, but this is really due to the very small volume of people in that category, making up less than 0.5% of the total). 
Duration. Chronic unemployment (when someone has been looking for a job for over 12 months) has been a chronic problem for Greece. In fact, people who have been unemployed for over 12 months have always made up anywhere from 40% to 60% of the total unemployment pool. Since 2008, there has been a rise in unemployment duration for all types – from very short term (1 month), to medium term (up to a year) and long term. by the end of 2011, 55% of the unemployed have been so for over a year.

Sector. In the three years from Q4 2008 to Q4 2011, the Greek economy has shed 657,000 jobs. Three sectors which make up 34% of the country’s total employment (there are 21 sectors in total) accounted for 67% of the lost jobs, led by construction (160,000 jobs lost), manufacturing (146,000) and then wholesale and retail trade (111,000). There were also some sectors where employment actually grew, albeit modestly: “financial and insurance activities” and “human health and social work activities.”

Region. Of the people who are unemployed, 40% live in the Attica region (which includes Athens), a share that is slightly higher than its population (36%). Central Macedonia makes up another 18% of the total employed population, roughly on par with its 17% of the population. In terms of unemployment rates, the Peloponnese, Northern Aegean and Crete tend to (and continue to) rates below the national average, while Macedonia and Sterea Ellada are above the national average.

Labor Costs. The average monthly labor cost has been declining consistently since early 2010 at an average rate of 3.4% on a year-on-year basis. But in Q4 2011, there was a much more significant decline of 14.9% Relative to the peak, labor costs have come down by about 18%, thus correcting some of the competitiveness adjustment necessary to correct the imbalance that was created earlier in the decade.

Overall profile. An unemployed person in Greece is as likely to be a man as a woman. There is a 41% chance that they are 30 to 44 years old, and there is a 37% change that they have only a high school diploma. They are 55% likely to have been unemployed for over a year, they are likely to have lost their jobs from construction, manufacturing or wholesale and retail trade, and they most likely live around the major urban centers in Athens or Thessaloniki. As for the people who are employed, their cost to employers has gone down by about 18% on average as a result of lower wages or lower indirect payments.

1 comment:

  1. That's a nice collection of statistical results, but I feel some need to be somehow normalized. For instance, it would be useful to show percentage of unemployed people with university education with respect to the size of that specific population (all people with university education registered in the statistical agency). One may then draw some interesting conclusions. I also think that one more number is missing: the number of young people who are looking for their first ever job but cannot get one. The greek statistical agency has no direct track of them, but I assume the number is significant.

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