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Cyprus reports dramatic drop in unemployment

Staff writer |
Unemployment in Cyprus fell by 4 percentage points to 12.6 percent in February relative to the same month last year.

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Total employment increased in 2015 to 361,700 compared to 358,600 in 2014.

"This is the first increase in total employment figures since 2011," the statement issued by the government spokesman said.

Eurostat, the statistical service of the European Union, said Cyprus's reduction of unemployment was the biggest among the 28 member states.

The 18-billion-euro Cypriot economy grew by 1.8 percent in 2015, after a cumulative contraction of 13 percent during the previous four years.

The deep recession and runaway public spending policies since 2008 had led to large budget deficits and driven Cyprus out of international markets.

The country applied for bailout by the Eurogroup and the International Monetary Fund in mid-2012 and an agreement was concluded in February 2013.

Cyprus exited its three-year economic adjustment program at the end of March, but the high level of unemployment was a black spot in its otherwise unblemished performance of its economy.

The spokesman's statement said that the government will continue its policy of reforms and rationalization of public finances with an aim to further strengthen the growth rate and further reduce unemployment.

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