Testosteronepit:“Dire” is no longer the right word to describe the situation in Greece. Unemployment hit 23.1% in May, according to ELSTAT, the Greek statistical agency, which released the report on August 9. That it takes over two months to do a job—producing unemployment numbers—that other countries accomplish in a couple of weeks may be symptomatic of Greece’s calamity economy.
And a calamity it is. Youth unemployment (15-24) jumped to 54.9%—but even before the crisis, during the boom years so to speak, it had been high, ranging from 22% in 2007 to 32% in 1999. The number of people with jobs dropped to 3,816,900—of a total population of 9.9 million! Only 38.5% of the people work! In the US, where the jobs situation is dismal enough, the employment population ratio is 58.4%. No country can succeed when only 38.5% of the people contribute to the economy and pay taxes to feed their government and service its debt. To get to 50%, the Greek economy would have to create 1.2 million jobs, a 31% jump! Impossible under the regime of Greek politics, bureaucrats, and state-owned enterprises. So the people are reacting with their feet.
“Thousands upon thousands of Greeks are on the move, leaving the larger cities for the countryside or smaller provincial towns or abandoning the country to try their luck abroad,” writes Teacher Dude in his blog from Thessaloniki, Northern Greece. “The steady rhythm of friends, neighbors, and colleagues gradually slipping away,” he laments. “In every apartment block in every street, no entrance hall is complete without a handful of For Rent or For Sale signs.” And it’s personal: “Thomas, who’s now in Germany, trying to start a new life, Anne and Makis who have decided to go back to Makis’s home town of Alexandroupolis, Panos who is off to Crete to try his hand at farming after losing his job in the latest round of job cuts....”