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Greek unemployment hits 24.8 pct

Nicholas Paphitis, Associated Press

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, right, and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras attend a vote for the new austerity measures at the Greek parliament in Athens, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. Greek lawmakers have narrowly passed a crucial austerity bill by majority vote, but with heavy dissent from within the three-party governing coalition. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's statistics agency says unemployment rose to 25.4 percent in August, increasing from 24.8 percent in July as the country struggles through a deep recession.

The numbers mark a significant leap from the 18.4 percent jobless rate in the same month last year. More than 1.2 million people in this country of barely 10 million are now unemployed, the statistics agency said Thursday.

More than half — 58 percent — of all young people aged 15-24 are unemployed, the figures showed.

The numbers were released a day after Greece's Parliament narrowly passed a deeply unpopular austerity bill that will further cut salaries and pensions.

The approval of the measures was a key step for Greece to be given the next installment of its vital bailout loans.