Greece’s recession eases, but economy contracts significantly

Greece says its deep recession eased from April to June, but the country’s economy has now shrunk more than 20 percent in the last five years.

Athens said Monday that its economy fell 4.6 percent in the second quarter, after dropping 5.6 percent in the early months of the year.

At the same time, the government said it is surpassing its budget targets after it imposed massive spending cuts and laid off thousands of workers. The country’s international lenders called for the austerity measures in exchange for more than $300 billion in bailouts to keep Greece from bankruptcy.

Greece is mired in the sixth year of a recession. More than 27 percent of its workforce is unemployed, with nearly two-thirds of its young workers jobless.

Forecasters say Greece’s economy could advance slightly by the end of 2014.

Greece is one of 17 nations in Europe’s euro currency bloc, where a slight recession has lasted a year and a half and the jobless rate has topped 12 percent.

(Photo: Vangelis Thomaidis)