Greece's unemployment rate has retouched a record high, reflecting the impact of a protracted austerity-fuelled recession.

According to Greece's statistics service Elstat, which publishes data months after the European Union's Eurostat office, the number of unemployed Greeks rose to 27.6% in May, from an upwardly revised 27% in April. The unemployment rate was 23.8% in May, 2012.

The latest unemployment figure is the highest reading since Elstat's statistics service began publishing unemployment data in 2006.

The number of employed people decreased by 22,815 in May, compared with the previous month, Elstat data showed.

Elstat vs Eurostat

According to the EU's statistics office Eurostat in July, Greek unemployment hovered at 26.9% for April.

By comparison, the jobless rate in the 27-nation EU region declined to 10.9% in June, from 11.0% in May. This was the first fall in the rate since January 2011.

Greece has suffered the most, following the onset of the sovereign debt crisis, as a quarter of a trillion euro rescue package has forced the country to axe spending, jobs and raise taxes. Its battered economy has remained in deflation for the fifth consecutive month in July.

The country is also in its sixth year of recession and youth unemployment, those aged between 15 and 24, has rocketed to around 65%. By comparison, youth unemployment in the EU region hovers around the 23%.

Analysts say Greece cold lose more private sector jobs this year, as the government's strict austerity measures could cause thousands of businesses to close.

According to the Institute of Small Enterprises of the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants (IME/GSEVEE) report, the number of businesses collapsing amid the ongoing sovereign debt crisis will outstrip the number of those opening up. The group's general-secretary Nikos Skorinis expects 195,000 jobs will be lost by the end of 2013.

Last month, Athens decided in a parliamentary vote to axe or transfer 25,000 public sector workers amid mass protests against austerity measures.

The government had initially agreed, as part of its rescue package terms, to cut 15,000 public sector jobs by the end of 2014.

Greece's €240bn rescue deal expires at the end of 2014.