Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Bad Numbers Week for Greece

Greece slipped further down the greasy statistical pole this week, an indication of losses both material and moral. Unemployment, poverty and perceptions of corruption all rose in estimates compiled by the Greek and European statistical services, and Transparency International.

Unemployment and poverty rise

Greek unemployment rose to 26 percent for the month of September, according to figures released on Thursday by the Hellenic Statistical Service (Elstat). The figure stood at 25.3 percent in August, and at 18.9 percent in September 2011.

In nominal figures, Elstat reports that 1.3 million people are unemployed, 3.4 million people are inactive and  3.7 million people are in work. This means that 3.7 million people are supporting 4.7 million people, but the ratio is in reality even less favourable, because approximately 800,000 of the 3.7 million work in the public sector and are paid through taxes. The original wealth generated through private sector wealth therefore sits on the shoulders of a mere 2.9 million people.

Employment peaked in 2008 at 4.65 million people, when only 371,000 were out of work.

Poverty also rose in figures released on Monday by Eurostat, the European Statistical Agency. Thirty one percent of Greeks, or 3.4 million people, were at the end of 2011 considered to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The blanket term covers three categories of deprivation as follows:

Greeks at risk of poverty or social exclusion* (all figures are % of population)

Persons at-riskof-poverty after social transfers 
Persons falling under at least one of the three
criteria (at risk of poverty or social exclusion) 
EU27 average

*Source: Eurostat

The highest proportions of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Bulgaria (49 percent) and the lowest in the Czech Republic (15 percent).

Greece has been in recession since the last quarter of 2008, and has lost over 18 percent of its economy according to a report by its creditors. Its economy is set to shrink by seven percent this year, at least 4.5 percent next year, and stabilise in 2014.

Corruption Rises in Greek Eyes 

The perception of Greeks that their country is corrupt rose this year according to Transparency International’s latest figures, released on Wednesday. Its 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index places Greece 94th out of 173 countries surveyed, alongside Benin, Colombia, Djibouti, Moldova, Mongolia, India and Senegal. Greece is behind every one of its European Union partners including Eastern bloc nations (except Bulgaria) which have been EU members, market economies and democracies for far less time.

The CPI measures the extent to which people believe that corruption exists, not corruption itself. Greece placed 80th last year and has been falling in the index since 2005 (see table below).

“There are solutions,” said Kostas Bakouris, head of TI in Greece. He called for the post of a “national co-ordinator of bodies combating corruption” to be created, directly answerable to the prime minister.

Greece’s Corruption Perceptions Index Rankings (2001-2011)*

2011 Greece is 80th with a score of 3.4
2010 Greece is 78th, with a score of 3.5
2009 Greece is 71st, with a score of 3.8
2008 Greece is 57th with a score of 4.7
2007 Greece is 56th with a score of 4.6
2006 Greece 54th with a score of 4.4
2005 Greece is 47th with a score of 4.3
2004 Greece is 49th with a score of 4.3
2003 Greece is 50th with a score of 4.3
2002 Greece is 44th with a score of 4.2
2001 Greece is 42nd with a score of 4.2

*Source: Transparency International

For more on this topic see Greek Shame campaign Seeks to Banish Corruption.


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