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Greece's jobless rate rises to 24.4 per cent in fourth quarter

[ATHENS] Greece's jobless rate rose to 24.4 per cent in last year's final quarter from 24 per cent in the July-to-September period, data from the country's statistics service showed on Thursday.

The highest unemployment rate was recorded in the first quarter of 2014, when joblessness hit 27.8 per cent. About 74.3 per cent of Greece's 1.17 million jobless are long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for at least 12 months, the figures showed.

Athens has already published monthly unemployment figures through December, which differ from quarterly data because they are based on different samples and are seasonally adjusted. Quarterly figures are not seasonally adjusted.

The debt crisis and a six-year austerity imposed by the EU/IMF lenders in exchange for Greece's bailouts have wiped out about a quarter of the country's economic output, driving the jobless rate to record highs.

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Greece's economy expanded slightly in the last three months of 2015 compared to the previous quarter but shrank 0.3 per cent for the year as a whole.