Middle-class Greeks at risk of poverty and unemployment

Global Business

Greece is facing its lowest rate of employment in years, leaving 1.3 million people without jobs. The country’s middle class is now struggling to stay above the poverty level. CCTV America’s Eirini Zarkadoula reported this story from Athens, Greece.

Middle-class Greeks at risk of poverty and unemployment

Greece is facing its lowest rate of employment in years, leaving 1.3 million people without jobs. The country's middle class is struggling to stay about the poverty level. CCTV America's Eirini Zarkadoula reported this story from Athens.

Greece’s unemployment rate stood at 25.5 percent in September, in line with the expectations. The number of Greeks at risk of poverty has more than doubled in the last five years, from about 20 percent in 2008 to 44 percent in 2013, according to a report by the International Labor Organization.

In September, the General Confederation of Greek Workers revealed data showing a huge decline in income for most Greek wage-earners during the crisis. The data shows that approximately a million jobs have already been lost, while it warns of a new rise in unemployment and social security funds in the days to come.

Life is getting worse for Greeks, even as the government tries to improve the economy through rescue packages. Many of those hit hardest are in the middle class.

“I have to teach in five schools. There are colleagues who teach to six or more schools. This means that we have transport expenses. Lots of difficulties,” said Maria a public school French teacher who did not give her last name. “I get almost 450 euros less [$550]. Our bonuses are cut. For example, our Christmas bonus is cut. We can barely pay our bills.”

Six years ago, Maria rented a big house for her and her three kids, but her financial situation has changed so much that she now plans to move to a smaller house.

“When the country asked for the first rescue package, I got 350 euros [$455] once every 15 days. We couldn’t pay for our rent, we couldn’t live. My two sons decided to live with their father, so I live with my daughter,” she said.

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