The Greek government will announce a “significant” increase in the minimum monthly wage, effective on May 1, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said from Parliament on Wednesday evening, part of stepped up efforts to deflect record-breaking inflation – in the Euro era – and skyrocking energy costs.

Speaking during a plenary session to debate a labor ministry draft bill, Mitsotakis said unemployment remained the biggest challenge in the country.

“In the current juncture… the twin goal is to shrink unemployment and raise wages – which I have said, remain, unfortunately, at low levels in our country, disproportionately low when often compared to the contribution of wage-earners,” he said.

The Greek premier also repeated that his response to employers who complain that they cannot find skilled workers is to raise wages.

Mitsotakis’ statement came hours after the latest jobless figures were announced, with 12.8 percent of the workforce in February 2022 listed as unemployed, down from 16.1 percent in February 2021 and 12.9 percent in January 2022, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT).

Specifically, the number of unemployed totaled 603,025, down 14.2 percent from February 2021, but up 1.2 percent from January 2022. The unemployment rate among women was 16.1 percent in February2022, down from 19.7 percent in the corresponding month of 2021.

The unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group was a disappointing 32.1 percent in February 2022, but down from an even more ominous 40 percent in February 2021, while in the 25-74 age group it decreased to 11.8 percent from 15 percent.

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