8月台灣進出口衰退再度蟬聯亞洲主要國家最慘  

 

ivr

 

 中間線-02   


【2012.08.17-保2總隊也沒了!】

 

 

【2012.08.08-壞消息紛至沓來 出口連五衰 7月減逾一成】
 


【2012.07.25-從經濟、政治、外交、司法等等全面潰退的台灣 - 簽了ECFA後的亞洲唯一出口衰退國】

 

 中間線-02  


【2012.08.19你在失業 他在拚選舉】

 

國黨地方首長會議 馬:拚2014選舉-2012.08.19-01

 http://news.chinatimes.com/politics/110101/112012090900141.html

藍三連敗 社會不滿是主因-2012.09.09-02  

 中間線-02  

景氣連8藍 低迷表現直逼金融海嘯-2016.03.02.jpg   

台灣進出口衰退 亞洲最慘-2012.09.07  

國黨地方首長會議 馬:拚2014選舉-2012.08.19

 

失業率飆 8月恐創近1年新高 -2012.09.08  

百病齊發 良藥何求?-2012.09.09  

http://news.chinatimes.com/politics/110101/112012090900141.html

藍三連敗 社會不滿是主因-2012.09.09-01  

http://udn.com/NEWS/WORLD/WOR2/7349762.shtml

 失業率24%! 希臘人被迫出國打工-2012.09.09

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-07/jobless-greeks-resolved-to-work-clean-toilets-in-sweden.html

Jobless Greeks Resolved to Work Clean Toilets in Sweden-2012.09.07  

https://tw.news.yahoo.com/%E6%99%AF%E6%B0%A3%E9%80%A38%E8%97%8D-%E4%BD%8E%E8%BF%B7%E8%A1%A8%E7%8F%BE%E7%9B%B4%E9%80%BC%E9%87%91%E8%9E%8D%E6%B5%B7%E5%98%AF-091133457.html  

景氣連8藍 低迷表現直逼金融海嘯  

   中央社 – 2016年3月2日 下午5:11  

(中央社記者陳政偉台北2日電)景氣低迷仍處於膠著,國發會今天公布105年1月景氣燈號為藍燈,領先指標、同時指標仍未止跌。連續第8個藍燈,直逼金融海嘯時期,2008年9月開始連9個藍燈的低迷表現  

國家發展委員會今天公布,105年1月「景氣對策信號」呈現「景氣低迷」的藍燈,綜合判斷分數為14分,與104年12月同分  

根據國發會過去資料,國內景氣受國際經濟影響深,金融海嘯爆發時,景氣燈號從2008年9月開始連續亮出9個藍燈。而後受到歐債危機影響,2011年11月起創連10個藍燈  

國發會指出,1月領先指標較上月下跌0.22%,已連續17個月下跌;同時指標較上月下跌0.11%,經回溯修正後,連續3個月微幅下降。  

國發會經發處處長吳明蕙解釋,可能必須看到領先指標穩定上升,且同時指標上升時間夠長、幅度夠大,才能判斷景氣反轉。  

各界期望景氣能觸底反彈回升,吳明蕙認為,2月目前經濟情勢仍不明朗,可能要到3月才會有好轉的機會。  

吳明蕙說,中國大陸經濟表現不好,加上台灣出口產品集中,貿易關係密切,對國內出口表現影響甚鉅,短期內出口很難看到明顯復甦跡象。  

吳明蕙指出,展望未來,全球經濟慢速拖行,今年經濟成長率恐僅與去年相當,且中國大陸等新興國家成長幅度低於去年,難免影響我國出口復甦的時程與力道。  

民間投資方面,半導體及相關業者高階產能投資可望續增,加以航空業者擴大購機等因素,投資動能應可維繫;民間消費受景氣復甦緩慢影響,民眾購買意願及消費信心略為減弱,後續應密切注意。1050302

 

自由時報

http://iservice.libertytimes.com.tw/liveNews/news.php?no=691887&type=%E8%B2%A1%E7%B6%93&Slots=Live&

台灣進出口衰退 亞洲最慘 17:30 

2012年9月7日‧星期五

〔記者張舒婷/台北報導〕財政部統計處今天公布,今年8月出口共246.9億美元,比去年同月減少10.9億美元、下跌4.2%,不僅連續6個月衰退,且1到8月出口共1963.4億美元,衰退5.6%,依舊是亞洲主要國家中最低迷;進口共213.8億美元,也比去年同月衰退7.6%。

 財政部統計長葉滿足表示,由於去年9月基期低,且9月一向為歐美廠商採購旺季,可望刺激台灣出口由負轉正,但全年出口估計還是負成長。

 根據統計,今年1到8月的前十大出口貨品中,有8項比去年同期減少,衰退最慘重的莫過於資訊與通信產品,前8月出口102.9億美元,比去年同期縮水31.4億美元、23.4%,其中又以手機減少30.9億元最多,跌幅高達41%。

 今年前8月,台灣出口年增率為-5.6%、南韓-1.5%;前7月日本2.9%、新加坡1.8%、中國7.8%、美國7%,香港0%。整體而言,台灣的出口表現仍是最差的。

 葉滿足也提到,前6月台灣出口衰退情況比其他國家相對嚴重,但在歐債風暴的侵襲下,6月過後其他國家的出口跌幅也開始擴大,相形之下,台灣的出口跌幅有縮小的趨勢。

http://udn.com/NEWS/FINANCE/FIN2/7349788.shtml

失業率飆 8月恐創近1年新高  

【聯合晚報╱記者楊美玲/台北報導】 2012.09.08 02:47 pm   

國內失業率升高,已高於港韓,失業人數直逼50萬大關。專家預測,8月失業率恐會高於7月失業率4.31%,更不排除逼近4.5%,並創下近一年來新高,建議政府若要改善勞動市場,短期可增加臨時性雇員,推出短期就業方案,長期則可加強未來產業人才的就業機會。

景氣趨緩,加上應屆畢業生尋職需求提高,使7月失業率較6月增加0.1個百分點至4.31%。富邦金控經濟研究中心資深協理羅瑋表示,景氣持續低迷,促使雇主增加人力的意願下降,或僱用勞工變得更加謹慎,因此預估8月失業率會再提高,恐怕會直逼4.5%。

羅瑋強調,雖然應屆畢業生參與就業市場的需求增加,但受景氣影響,不少畢業生並未認真在找工作,有些更直接就讀研究所,加上目前企業也未有裁員潮出現,因此勞動市場參與人數短期內變化應不大。

羅瑋指出,政府若要有效降低失業率,短期立竿見影的作法,就是增加臨時性的雇員,但長期仍必須加強未來產業人才的就業機會。

中研院經濟研究所研究員周雨田表示,失業率仍未見好轉,還有可能會更糟,建議政府可持續端出短期就業方案,強調這並非不好的政策,雖然外界過去有不少批評聲音,但仍有助於改善勞動市場。此外,他還建議,政府應鼓勵大型企業或和研發相關的公民營單位,可增加收納博士後研究人才的工作機會,將可避免國內人才持續流失。

周雨田指出,今年國內台清交等大學的博士班考試報名人數都創下新低,主因是大家都擔心唸完後出來找不到工作,政府雖然常嘆國內無人才,但卻未見任何政策是針對人才做妥善規劃之安置,而在這方面,中國大陸明顯就做得比台灣好。

周雨田表示,中國大陸有不少銀行或證交所都有針對博士後提供工作機會,而且薪資也都相當優渥,以上海證交所為例,博士後的年薪就有20萬人民幣以上,明顯比台灣博士後的年薪高,因此他建議政府可以針對企業需要或政府政策需求,創造一些博士後的工作機會,將可解決人才流失之問題。

【2012/09/08 聯合晚報】 

http://udn.com/NEWS/OPINION/OPI1/7350594.shtml

百病齊發 良藥何求?  

【經濟日報╱社論】 2012.09.09 02:34 am   

台灣經濟生病了,而且病得不輕。最近陸續公布的數字,每一項都令人看了膽戰心驚,直接受其衝擊者感受的痛苦,更不待言。

今年第1季GDP成長率已接近於零,第2季更成為負值,在亞洲12個主要國家之中絕無僅有。而當成長停滯之際,消費者物價(CPI)上升的幅度卻高達3.42%,為4年來新高。

與此同時,失業率也攀升到4.31%,而且第4季預估的人力需求則比去年同期大減逾4%,因而失業問題恐怕會持續惡化,我們聞之色變的「無薪假」已經開始回升。

一般人慣將失業率加上通貨膨脹構成所謂的痛苦指數,以衡量一般市井小民生活困苦的程度,此二者相加已逾7.7%,直逼8%的大關。但經濟學家觀察的現象則是經濟成長減緩乃至衰退與通貨膨脹加劇並存的情況,稱之為停滯性膨脹或簡稱「滯漲」,將之視為最可怕的經濟夢魘。之所以可怖,是因為這兩者本各代表一個極端:通貨膨脹代表經濟過熱、供不應求,必須緊急以緊縮性政策降溫來挽救;而經濟停滯則代表經濟過冷,有效需求不足,必須趕緊採取擴張性政策來因應,兩者一時並至,既不能緊縮、又不可擴張,乃成為群醫束手、左右為難的疑難雜症。而且通膨令荷包縮水、停滯根本連收入都不可得,其痛苦更甚於1加1,其相乘效果,最令人難以承受。

CPI突自年初預估全年不逾2%的水準大增近1倍,據官方的說法,來自8月份颱風頻至,使民生物資價格騰貴,加上國際油價急升,而國內又才實施油電雙漲,使相關物價大漲;待颱風季過,一切回復正常,情勢將大有好轉。不過,即使此因素改善,國際油價上升之勢不止,而今年6月起油電雙漲相對於去年凍漲的格局持續未改,倘若國際糧食價格難見回落,而全球經濟情勢可能趨於穩定,則國際物價恐怕易漲難跌,則未來數月國內通膨頗有可能愈演愈烈。

另一方面,國際情勢雖逐漸趨穩,但台灣經濟則欲振乏力,這正是8月我們出口貿易成為亞洲主要國家中敬陪末座的主因。台灣出口成長動能持續衰退,又與中國大陸出口成長大為減弱有密切關聯,只要此一病因不除,經濟必更趨衰弱。連續6個月出口衰退、資本設備進口與投資衰退,在在顯示情勢正持續惡化,失業率攀升及經濟成長率慘降幾難以避免。

將此二者相加,停滯性膨脹的困境日漸明顯,痛苦指數可能日甚一日。39歲以下青壯年的平均薪資倒退回到10餘年前,剔除物價升幅,應已回到20年前,而且還可能逐月惡化,最具體地顯示市井小民的痛苦。台灣該怎麼辦?

類似的危機,在蔣經國先生任行政院長時的第1次能源危機曾經出現,不過那是一次全球性的衝擊,很快就回到正軌。即使如此,當時蔣經國仍以全面推動10大建設的霹靂行動讓經濟危機快速解除。但此次是「各國還好我最差」,尤其情勢仍可能持續惡化,馬政府拿出具體行動搶救經濟更責無旁貸。

不過,由於政府舉債過高,已無發動大規模建設的餘力,只能別闢蹊徑,由政府解除自縛的手腳,創造民間大力投入的機會。積極建立新加坡模式的自由經濟區,並藉此吸引數萬家在對岸走投無路的主力廠商來台,正是兩劑強心劑。但當民間與地方政府努力奔走擘劃做好萬全準備,馬總統的中央政府卻視而不見。有這樣的政府,既有良藥,於事何補?台灣的命運,又如何回天?

【2012/09/09 經濟日報】

http://news.chinatimes.com/politics/110101/112012090900141.html

藍三連敗社會不滿是主因

  • ·         2012-09-09 01:13
  • ·         中國時報
  • ·         【王正寧、李忠一/特稿】

     經建會才公布景氣對策燈號,連續出現九顆代表低迷的藍燈。無獨有偶,馬英九總統連任以來,民調頻創新低,而國民黨也連續吃下三場敗仗。歸根究柢,是不景氣帶衰國民黨選情,抑或根本就是馬政府搞砸經濟!

     景氣不佳,官方歸咎於歐債風暴,引發全球經濟衰退。但台灣依賴歐洲的程度相對並不高,為什麼經濟成長率節節敗退,為什麼出口衰退最明顯,為什麼消費者物價指數、失業率飆升超快,甚至去年吸引國外投資金額還是全球倒數第二,連北韓都不如。

     幾乎所有經濟指標,在亞洲四小龍當中都敬陪末座,和其他東南亞國家相較,表現也同樣令人汗顏。執政四年的馬政府,上個月才想要開個財經議題研商會議,卻看不到什麼激勵人心的藥方。

     值得注意的是,花壇、鹿港與礁溪之前的地方首長都屬國民黨籍,可以算是藍軍優勢區;補選之後,全部藍天變綠地,而且輸到脫褲子。距離贏得總統大選才八個月,國民黨在執政長達十年的礁溪鄉,面對綠營分裂的情況下,依然無力回天。這還要怪提名不當、輔選不力嗎?

     油電雙漲、證所稅都是馬政府重大改革,能夠實行或是通過,讓馬英九感到驕傲也視為政績,但民意顯然選擇站在對立面。如果不是改革方向有問題,至少改革手段有檢討之處;否則,溫和的台灣人怎麼會翻臉跟翻書一樣。

     即便三連敗,黨中央依舊淡定,僅僅以幾十字的新聞稿簡單回應,強調地方幹部盡心盡力,尊重選舉結果,對於中央的責任則是隻字未提,讓人見識到國民黨的效率,至少在切割責任方面。

     擔心提前跛腳,馬英九在距離選舉還有一年多前,就宣布競選連任黨主席,似乎暫時穩住黨內紛擾的局面。但社會的不滿現況的氛圍依舊,團結的國民黨竟然選輸分裂的民進黨正是指標之一;有沒有跛腳,是選民決定,不是自己人取暖。否則,敗績只怕還要繼續。 http://udn.com/NEWS/WORLD/WOR2/7349762.shtml

失業率24%! 希臘人被迫出國打工

聯合晚報╱編譯彭淮棟/綜合報導】 2012.09.08 02:56 pm

  卡拉查里歐在希臘當藥廠推銷員17年,穿西裝,開公司車子,有個開支帳戶,周末帶女兒遊玩,和父母喝咖啡聊天。如今他在瑞典小學拖地板擦玻璃。

卡拉查里歐把六歲的女兒留在雅典給父母照顧,成為被希臘24%失業率逼出國的無數希臘人之一。「我得想辦法活下去。這裡日子困難,非常困難,我寧願留在希臘,可是那裡沒工作。」

希臘已經第五年衰退,今年經濟預估將和去年一樣萎縮6.9%。總人口1080萬,失業人數自2008年以來增加兩倍,達122萬。

烏拉妮亞失掉紡織廠的工作,2010年和丈夫離開有房有車的舒適日子,到瑞典求生。「在希臘,我們沒有未來,」她說。「這裡還可以抱點希望,我可能沒希望,我48了,但孩子可能有希望。」

卡拉查里歐才40歲,日益稀疏的黑髮已點點飛霜,雙手塵泥,一身牛仔褲和工作靴。西裝和領帶留在家鄉。

他3月來到瑞典,在住滿其他移民的社區裡,他那個房間月租4500瑞幣 (台幣二萬元),沒有瓦斯爐,他只有一個盤子。廚房裡有電視機,他從來沒看。

他起初清潔出租房間,辛苦、寂寞,沒有午餐時間,第一周沒薪水(說他是試用),第二周結束,沒有電話叫他繼續做。

在希臘,他月薪2500到3000歐元之間 (台幣9萬5000至11萬元),現在每小時賺80瑞幣,以每周工作40小時計,月入約1907美元(台幣5萬7000元)。

他在斯德哥爾摩北部一所小學工作,一大早5點鐘起床,搭地鐵上工,清洗好幾十扇窗戶,做得腰酸肩痛。洗完窗戶,清潔地板,口袋裡一把工刮刀,隨時要括黏在地上的口香糖。

「40歲的人,要接受人生就是這樣,非常難受,」他說。

【2012/09/08 聯合晚報】

 

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-07/jobless-greeks-resolved-to-work-clean-toilets-in-sweden.html

Jobless Greeks Resolved to Work Clean Toilets in Sweden

By Oliver Staley - Sep 7, 2012 9:51 PM GMT+0800  

As a pharmaceutical salesman in Greece for 17 years, Tilemachos Karachalios wore a suit, drove a company car and had an expense account. He now mops schools in Sweden, forced from his home by Greece’s economic crisis.  

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Greek Exile Tilemachos Karachalios  Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg

Jobless Greeks Resolved to Work Clean Toilets in Sweden-2012.09.07-02  

Tilemachos Karachalios, a Greek former pharmaceutical salesman, looks at photographs of his family in his rented apartment in the Rissne district of Stockholm, Sweden, on Aug. 5, 2012. Karachalios is one of thousands fleeing Greece's record 23 percent unemployment and austerity measures that threaten to undermine growth. 

Tilemachos Karachalios, a Greek former pharmaceutical salesman, looks at photographs of his family in his rented apartment in the Rissne district of Stockholm, Sweden, on Aug. 5, 2012. Karachalios is one of thousands fleeing Greece's record 23 percent unemployment and austerity measures that threaten to undermine growth. Photographer: Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg

Enlarge image 

Greek Exile Tilemachos Karachalios  Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg

Jobless Greeks Resolved to Work Clean Toilets in Sweden-2012.09.07-03  

Tilemachos Karachalios, a Greek former pharmaceutical salesman, with coffee in his rented apartment in the Rissne district of Stockholm, Sweden, on Aug. 5, 2012. 

Tilemachos Karachalios, a Greek former pharmaceutical salesman, with coffee in his rented apartment in the Rissne district of Stockholm, Sweden, on Aug. 5, 2012. Photographer: Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg

Enlarge image 

Greek Exile Tilemachos Karachalios  Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg

Jobless Greeks Resolved to Work Clean Toilets in Sweden-2012.09.07-04  

Former pharmaceutical salesman Tilemachos Karachalios is one of thousands fleeing Greece’s record 24 percent unemployment and austerity measures in Greece. 

Former pharmaceutical salesman Tilemachos Karachalios is one of thousands fleeing Greece’s record 24 percent unemployment and austerity measures in Greece. Photographer: Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg

.“It was a very good job,” said Karachalios, 40, of his former life. “Now I clean Swedish s---.”  

Karachalios, who left behind his 6-year-old daughter to be raised by his parents, is one of thousands fleeing Greece’s record 24 percent unemployment and austerity measures that threaten to undermine growth. The number of Greeks seeking permission to settle in Sweden, where there are more jobs and a stable economy, almost doubled to 1,093 last year from 2010, and is on pace to increase again this year.  

I’m trying to survive,” Karachalios said in an interview in Stockholm. “It’s difficult here, very difficult. I would prefer to stay in Greece. But we don’t have jobs.”  

Greece is in its fifth year of recession, with the economy expected to contract 6.9 percent this year, the same as in 2011, according to the Athens-based Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research. Since 2008, the number of jobless has more than tripled to a record 1.22 million as of June, out of a total population of 10.8 million.  

In Greece, there was no future,” said Ourania Michtopoulou, who moved with her husband to Sweden in 2010 after both lost textile industry jobs in Thessaloniki, where they had a comfortable life with a house and car. “Here, I can hope for something good to happen. Maybe not for me -- I’m 48 -- but maybe for my children.”  

Go Home’

Their family now crams into a small apartment, while her husband, Nikos, works for a landscaper and her teenage children struggle with Swedish lessons.  

It was not easy for them,” she said. “My daughter said lots of times, ‘I hate Sweden -- I want to go home.’”  

Karachalios began his career in pharmaceutical sales after his mandatory military service, working at three different companies in the southern city of Patras. He married a Chinese woman he met at the 2004 Athens Olympics, had a daughter, and divorced.  

You can plan, you can organize, you can make plans for 10 years, 20 years, but you don’t know what life brings,” he said.  

An intense man with flecks of gray in his thinning black hair, Karachalios said he has lost 20 to 30 pounds since moving to Sweden. His hands are stained with grime. Instead of the suits and ties he once wore, he now dresses in jeans and work boots. His suits remain in Greece.  

Lost Job

In Homer’s Odyssey, Telemachus is the son of Odysseus, a Greek hero who spent 10 years struggling to return home from the Trojan War. Karachalios was named after a great-uncle who was a favorite of his parents.  

Karachalios’s troubles began in early 2010 when the Greek government, which provides health care, forced drugmakers to cut their prices by as much as 27 percent. To reduce costs, his then-employer PharmaSwiss fired him and two other salesmen, leaving his former supervisor to manage the accounts, he said. Karachalios searched for jobs and eventually spent two months in 2011 as a telemarketer in Athens. He quit after not being paid. An ill-fated attempt to start a retirement home cost him months of work and most of his savings.  

Determined to move, Karachalios considered Australia before rejecting the immigration process as too expensive. He had a friend in Sweden, had visited before and knew its reputation.  

I knew they were very organized,” he said. “Everyone pays their taxes and it’s fair. There is no cheating.”  

Single Dish

Karachalios arrived in March. His friend helped him find a room to rent and he pays 4,500 Swedish krona ($670) a month for a room in a quiet apartment complex that houses other immigrants, many from the Middle East.  

His studio has no stove or oven, just a hot plate and microwave. He has a single dish, and when he has a guest, he eats out of a plastic container that used to hold feta cheese. A tiny Greek flag is taped to the wall. The room came with a television though Karachalios said he never watches. In the evenings, if he has the energy, he studies Swedish.  

Because of his background in health care, Karachalios at first applied for jobs caring for the elderly. He was rejected without an interview because he didn’t speak Swedish.  

To find a job, he began knocking on doors of restaurants and janitorial companies, and eventually found a position cleaning rental houses. It was hard, lonely work that didn’t allow a break for lunch, he said. His first week wasn’t paid because he was told he was being trained. After his second week, when he was paid for only 32 hours instead of the 40 he said he worked, he wasn’t called back.  

Frugal Living

In July, he found work with a cleaning contractor run by another Greek. Although the hours are long and the work difficult, Karachalios said he is at least treated fairly.  

In Greece, Karachalios was paid between 2,500 and 3,000 euros ($3,143-$3,772) a month, after taxes. In Stockholm, he makes 80 krona an hour. Based on a 40-hour work week, that equals about $1,907 a month.  

I was doing something more glamorous but I don’t mind this work,” he said. “I feel alive again. When you are unemployed too long, it’s very hard. I was angry all the time.”  

Karachalios wasn’t paid until mid-August for work he did in July. In the meanwhile, he lives frugally, saving half-smoked cigarettes while he waits for his parents to wire money. He also worries about finding another job, which will be necessary once school resumes and the cleaning contract ends. If he can’t find a permanent job in Stockholm, he said he may move with his daughter to Shanghai, where his ex-wife lives.  

I don’t have anywhere else to go and work, and it would be helpful for my daughter,” he said.  

Little Contact

There are now 1.4 million foreign-born people in Sweden, or 15 percent of the population, an increase from virtually none at the end of World War II. While Sweden prides itself on being a tolerant and progressive nation, an anti-immigration party drew 5.7 percent of the vote in 2010, the most ever, said Klas Borell, a Swedish professor of sociology.  

At the schools Karachalios cleans, he has little contact with Swedes. The principal of one school in Uppsala, Andreas Kembler, said that while he doesn’t know the janitors by name, he makes a point to say hello to them in the hall. The students have been learning about the crisis in Greece, and about the implications of unemployment, Kembler said.  

When told about Karachalios, Kembler says he is troubled that Greeks are forced from their homes in pursuit of work.  

Wrong Reasons

I can see, now that our economy is strong and theirs is weak, that it may be natural to move somewhere where there are still jobs,” Kembler said. “I also feel that the move should be for the right reasons, positive reasons, and that in his case there must have been a certain amount of duress that he was under, which of course isn’t an appealing thought that he was forced to move away from his family.”  

Karachalios wakes at 5 a.m. with the sun already up because of the long Swedish summer days. He checks Facebook on his phone for news from Greece and takes the subway one stop to Rinkeby, a gritty working-class neighborhood. Near the station is a parking lot where people without homes sleep in their cars, leaving their shoes and bottles of water outside the doors.  

At a litter-strewn gas station just off the highway, Karachalios waits for a van to pick him up. Other migrant workers, headed for other destinations, wait nearby. He smiles with anticipation: once he’s in the van he’ll borrow a co- worker’s iPhone to talk with his daughter, Katerina, on Skype.  

Katerina’s Day

When they talk, it’s about her day in Greece: her trip to the beach with her grandparents, what she’ll have for breakfast. He wants to bring her to Stockholm but won’t until he has a stable job and living situation.  

Talking with Katerina is a highlight of his day and he was crushed when his laptop stopped working and he couldn’t Skype with her on her birthday. Now, he checks in with his parents by calling on his mobile phone and hanging up, and they do the same, so they don’t have to pay for the call.  

After a cigarette with his co-workers -- all immigrants from Greece -- Karachalios piles into the van for the 45-minute drive to the outskirts of Uppsala, a small city north of Stockholm. Today’s job is to finish cleaning the elementary school they began working on yesterday. They start at 7:30 a.m. and work 2 1/2 hours before breaking. For lunch, they share their food, with Karachalios bringing fried meatballs for the group.  

Family Distressed

Karachalios is charged with cleaning the dozens of double- paned windows, which takes its toll on his back and shoulders. On other days, he cleans floors. In his pocket, he carries a razor blade for scraping the gum off linoleum.  

His decision to leave Greece has been hard on his family back home, sister Nikki Karachalios said. Just one year older, she and her husband lived in the same apartment complex as Karachalios and their daughters are the same age.  

As a family, we have always been very close and now it’s difficult,” she said in a phone interview.  

Their father, who had been hospitalized with a respiratory condition, is particularly distressed, Nikki Karachalios said. Still, they all understand why he left, she said.  

He was very unhappy,” she said. “He had no money, he was completely broke, he had loans for the house he couldn’t pay. There was nothing for him here, he was staying home for days because he had no place to go.”  

Serious Decision’

Two years ago, Nikki Karachalios lost her own job working for a French construction company when a planned highway from Patras to Athens was canceled. Her husband, a commercial sailor, is also without work and does odd jobs for his brother.  

The family is supported by her father’s 700 euro-a-month social security check, which buys groceries and little else. She expects that payment to be reduced as the government makes a new round of cuts. She is considering moving to Stockholm, as well.  

By the end of the year I will have to make a serious decision about the future of my family,” she said.  

In Sweden, struggling to make sense of Greece’s decline, Tilemachos Karachalios suggests a conspiracy by Germany and France to economically cripple the country in order to seize its Aegean oil reserves. He’s also bitter about comments made by former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who said in interviews abroad in 2009 that corruption and tax evasion were to blame for Greece’s problems.  

Who, me?” Karachalios said. “I’m not lazy. I didn’t steal from the government. I was honest and they made me like this, to come here.”  

Unpredictable Future

What gnaws at him is the uncertainty that comes from not having a stable job or predictable future.  

I’m tired of all this,” he said. “I want to close my eyes and wake up in 10 years and not have to worry.”  

Migrants to Sweden from within the European Union are free to look for work and can settle if they can provide for themselves or have family there. Although the unemployment rate is 7 percent, finding work can be difficult if new arrivals don’t speak Swedish, said Arto Moksunen, director of Crossroads, a nonprofit group in Stockholm that has provided assistance to 3,000 migrants since March 2011.  

Konstantinos Fraggidis, who is the president of a Greek cultural association in Stockholm, said he fields 10 to 15 e- mails a day from Greeks asking about working and living conditions in Sweden.  

You can read how desperate these young people are,” Fraggidis said. “Here suddenly, you see them by themselves trying to leave Greece, not only their village but to leave the country. They have taken the big step and it is very traumatic.”  

Always Tired

As his day ends, Karachalios returns to his room, cooks a simple meal and goes to bed. After five months in Stockholm, his life has settled into a routine. On weekends, he cleans his apartment, does his laundry and sleeps. He is almost always tired and has few people to talk to. He contrasts that to his life in Greece, where he spent weekends chatting with his parents over coffee and taking his daughter to the playground.  

Even with his contempt of Greek politicians, Karachalios is proud of his country. The Stockholm subway isn’t as good as Athens’s metro, he says. Swedes aren’t as tidy as Greeks.  

I want to die in Greece,” Karachalios said. “I want to leave my bones in Greece.”  

The resumption of school this month means the end of the cleaning company’s contract. Karachalios found another temporary cleaning job and also lined up part-time work delivering newspapers that will pay 7,000 krona ($1,038) a month. That job requires a car, and he spent what little money he had -- about 3,000 krona -- buying one. Two miles after getting behind the wheel, the car broke down, leaving Karachalios despondent and considering a return to Greece.  

To get to be 40 years old, it’s very hard to accept that your life is going to be like this,” Karachalios said.  

To contact the reporter on this story: Oliver Staley in London at ostaley@bloomberg.net  

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at lwolfson@bloomberg.net

 

 

 

 

 

 


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