(MENAFN - AFP) Greece's jobless rate jumped to 25.1 percent in July, breaching the one-in-four threshold for the first time since the country fell into economic crisis and recession, the state statistics agency said Thursday.
"Unemployment in July 2012 was 25.1 percent, compared with 17.8 percent in July 2011," the agency said in a statement.
There were more than 1.2 million unemployed Greeks in July, halfway through the busy tourism season, an additional 378,000 people compared with July 2011.
The situation ahead looks dire for Greece as it faces a sixth year of recession and is forced to make more budget cutbacks to unblock access to loans from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
A draft budget presented to parliament earlier this month forecast a 3.8-percent contraction in business activity next year.
Unemployment is expected to hit 23.5 percent of the workforce and climb to 24.7 percent in 2013, the finance ministry said then.
Greece is trying to persuade international creditors it is doing all it can to slash costs by 13.5 billion euros (17.4 billion) over the next two years, with a 31.5 billion-euro installment from its bailout packages riding on that.
Once the austerity package is finalised later this month, Athens hopes to secure an extra two years to apply the relevant cuts, betting that its economy will have picked up steam by then.