Wednesday, October 9, 2013

An Unemployment Nightmare

Here's a graph that you might find interesting:

Notice that I didn't tell you what the data was.  Let's call it dramatic effect.

This graph shows the unemployment rate for Greek young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 years of age for the month of June in the years between 2008 and 2013 inclusive.  Yes, you read that correctly; nearly two-thirds of young Greeks are unemployed.

In case you thought that things got better for Greeks as they got older, you'd be correct to some degree as shown on this graph of the unemployment rate for Greece's 25 to 34 year olds:

While things do look better for Greeks that are in the age group where they form their own family units,  over one-third are unemployed.

Lastly, here's the overall unemployment situation for Greeks:

And we think that unemployment ranging between 7 and 8 percent is bad!

Looking at the raw data, in 2008, there were 4,561,728 employed and 361,482 unemployed Greeks in total.  In 2013, there were only 3,628,421 employed and 1,402,698 unemployed Greeks.  The number of unemployed Greeks has risen by an astounding 388 percent in five years!

Most surprising in all of this is the fact that the vast majority of Greeks do not wish to emigrate.  A Gallup World Survey from 2011 - 2012 showed that only 24 percent of Greeks 15 years of age and older declared that they would like to move to another country.  According to the OECD, Greece's expatriation rate was only 3390 per million population in 2011, up from previous years  but still lower than many other European nations.  In fact, as shown on this graph, the net migration rate (the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving the country per 1000 population) has remained constant right through to 2012:

Why is this?  Some suspect that there is a general lack of opportunities elsewhere, particularly in Europe where the economic recovery has been tepid.  As well, to actually move to another job market, you actually have to accumulate the funds necessary to move.  In fact, IMF-imposed cuts to wages, including a 20 percent cut to minimum wages in the private sector, actually worsened the situation because prices fell less than the decline in wages, magnifying the problem.  Even worse for young workers who are already suffering enough, the minimum wage was cut by 32 percent.  All that said, even if emigration does increase, it will hardly make a dent in Greece's unemployment crisis.

Sadly, the situation appears to be unsolvable.  While the Troika's medicine may have improved the lot of some of Greek's bondholders, it has done absolutely nothing to actually help the Greeks.

...and, the next time that you hear a bobbing head in the mainstream media tell you that Europe's debt crisis is behind it, hopefully you will think again!


  1. I was in Greece when the financial crisis hit in 2008 and the markets were collapsing, it is a lovely country. Sadly I remember walking down the street one night and seeing smalls shops open hoping for just one more sale, it is a tough place to make a living. You are correct in that no easy answers exist, much of Europe has many of the same problems. The post below goes deeper into why Europe has not turned the corner.

  2. you are absolutely correct on your article above ....
    i live in greece (Athens) and i see it everyday..
    is become the norm here.. people just are confuse and abrade
    nobody can see a good days a head!!! that's the true here... 2013 Athens greece

  3. Yea but look at the graph of 5 to 14 year-olds in the US it is nearly 100% unemployment, so your first graph is invalid. If you take out 15 to 19 year-olds the rate is 33%. That is still depression level rates, but not crazy.
    I think the Germans are the equivalent of the Republicans in the US, (Sorry Germany.) They demand to curtail spending at the time it should be increased. And the rest of us fail to curtail spending when things are going well or when the market is to quick.