By S. Papapetros
A spike in the number of wage-earners remunerated with "borderline poverty" salaries, an improvement in the job market due to a reduction of unemployment but with an “explosion” in flexible types of employment within 2017 are the basic conclusions of a study undertaken and published by the research arm of Greece’s largest trade umbrella union.
While looming as a positive development in terms of quantity, the qualitative aspects for Greece’s jobs market paint a different picture.
Specifically, the study states that real unemployment in the country still reached 28.7 percent in the second quarter of 2017, down nevertheless from 30.8 percent in the corresponding quarter of 2016. This index includes not only the absolute number of unemployed but also the very high rates of under-employment observed in the country. Temporary, seasonal or infrequent part-time employment in Greece has tripled, the report noted, going from some 99,000 people in 2008 to 267,000 in 2017.
The 2017 interim report by INE-GSEE shows an improved jobs market for the first half of 2017 in relation to the previous year, on the back of 263,000 fewer unemployed people, and an increase of employment by 253,000 jobs spots in the 2014-2017 period.
Citing figures supplied by a labor ministry's electronic system for the Jan-Jul 2017 period, the labor union study said the majority of new job spots created in the country are part-time work (47.86 percent) or employment based on a rotational system (13.81 percent).
At the same time, pressure on wages and salaries continues, with the main pension fund’s figures for November 2016 (the latest) showing that the average monthly salary for part-time work was 397.67 euros (gross) in the country.
The GSEE study warned that shrinking monthly wages will have serious macroeconomic repercussions, essentially functioning as a “hidden austerity mechanism”.