ATHENS -- Unemployment has reached new highs in Greece, with October 2012 figures showing the jobless rate at 26.8 per cent, a major increase from the same month in 2011.

The country's Statistical Authority said Thursday that unemployment increased from the 26.2 per cent in September 2012, and marked a significant jump from the 19.7 per cent of October 2011. The young are the worst affected, with 56.6 per cent of those aged between 15 and 24 out of work in October 2011.

Greece has been struggling through a severe financial crisis since late 2009, and has been dependent on international rescue loans since May 2010. In return, the government has imposed strict austerity measures that have slashed salaries, increased taxes and plunged the country into a recession. Tens of thousands of businesses have shut down.