Greek unemployment hits 21.8 percent

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's unemployment rate increased to 21.8 percent in January, with nearly 350,000 people losing their jobs in the past year while the debt-strapped country's economy remains stuck in recession.

The Greek Statistical Authority said Thursday that 1,084,668 people were out of work in the first month of 2012 — with 344,913 people losing their jobs since January 2011 — nearly 1,000 per day.

Greece is suffering a fifth year of recession, largely due to harsh austerity measures demanded in return for international bailout loans required to avoid default.