ATHENS, Greece — Debt-ridden Greece is on track with the reforms required as part of the rescue package that saved it from bankruptcy, a delegation from the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and the European Commission said Thursday.

The delegation was in Athens to review progress in the austerity measures the government has been implementing in order to pull the country out of a financial crisis that brought it to the brink of default last month.

The delegation said Thursday the deficit was lower than had been projected and the government was adhering to firm spending control.

"Fiscal developments are positive with central government revenues coming in closely as expected and with firm expenditure control in the state budget," the delegation said in a joint statement, adding that based on preliminary data to the end of May, "the state budget deficit was lower than was projected in the program."

The team, which arrived in Athens on Monday and was leaving on Thursday, is to return in late July for a full review of Greece's progress in the three-year euro110 billion ($136 billion) package of rescue loans.

Greece received the first installment of loans in May, just in time to prevent default and repay government bonds that were maturing. It is to receive the next in September if the July review — the first formal review — shows it is still on track.

To secure the funds, the center-left government has taken austerity measures that aim to make its bloated public sector less wasteful and its shrinking economy more competitive. It has pledged to cut its massive budget deficit from 13.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 to 2.6 percent in 2014.

The reforms have met with a backlash from labor unions, who have staged a series of strikes and demonstrations.

A communist party-backed labor union has called for a protest rally Thursday evening, a day after the government unveiled a draft presidential decree making it easier for companies to fire workers by raising the number of layoffs allowed and enabling lower compensation payments.

Under the Labor Ministry's proposed reforms, the number of workers that companies employing more than 150 people can fire will be increased to 5 percent of the work force per month from the current 2 percent. Smaller companies will be able to lay off a maximum of six workers.

The draft decree also slashes the notice period a company is required to give an employee being fired from the current 24 months to four months. If workers are given full notice, employers will pay half the compensation required for sudden layoffs.

New figures released Thursday showed unemployment hit a 10-year high in the January-March period, reaching 11.7 percent compared to 9.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009. A total 47,000 jobs were lost compared to a year earlier.

Unemployment was highest in the 15-29 age group, where it reached 22.3 percent.