Unemployment hits lowest rate in 25 years

January 8, 2022 - 17:8

TEHRAN – According to the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI), the unemployment rate for people aged 15 and above fell to 8.9 percent this fall (September 23-December 21, 2021), recording the lowest rate in 25 years.

Accordingly, 63.1 million of the country’s population are in the age group of 15 years and older, 40.9 percent of whom, equal to 25.8 million people, have been economically active, i.e. they are in the group of employed or unemployed.

An examination of the changes in the economic participation rate shows a 0.5 percent decline compared to the same period last year.

However, a lower jobless rate does not necessarily mean creating more jobs over the past year. The SCI said the figure was the lowest on record for Iran’s labor market since 1996 although it insisted that a lower jobless rate did not necessarily mean that Iran had created more jobs over the past year.

“This declining trend does not mean more employment but it is due to the spread of the coronavirus disease which has caused many young adults to leave the labor market after failing to find a proper job,” and said the report.

“We are witnessing a reduction in active population and as a result, the jobless rate has been declining,” it added.

SCI calculations showed that Iran’s economically inactive population of above 15-year-olds had increased to reach over 37.3 million people. Jobs had increased by 122,000 over the quarter to late December to a total of 23.535 million.

The jobless rate was 23.6 percent among the youth between 15 and 23 years old, down 0.1 percent against the similar quarter last year, said the SCI.

The Iranian services sector was responsible for 49.9 percent of the jobs in the country over the quarter, followed by manufacturing and agriculture with 34.7 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively.

Some 20 out of 31 Iranian provinces had reported single-digit jobless rates over the three months ended in late December, including Khorasan Razavi in the northeast where unemployment was lowest in the country at 5.3 percent.

The highest jobless rate of 15.3 percent was recorded in Hormozgan Province on the Persian Gulf coast.

Joblessness on the rise

The latest employment report released by the Statistical Center reflects the growing trend of unemployment in Iran.

This summer (June 22-September 22, 2021), the working population amounted to 62,976,422 people (all people between 15 and 65 years old), which shows that their number has increased by about 709,000 compared to last summer.

However, the active population accounted for 25,900,000 people, whose number has decreased by 0.7 percent compared to last summer. Among the active population, more than 23.4 million people were employed, which has declined by 0.6 percent compared to last summer, a difference of more than 130,000 employees.

There were 2,496,086 unemployed people in the country during summer, showing an increase of 0.1 percent compared to last summer when the number of unemployed was 2,477,350. So, the unemployment rate has risen from 9.5 to 9.6 percent.

During the spring (March 21-June 21), the active population was estimated at 25,967,000 people, the unemployed were about 2,291,604 people and the unemployment rate was 8.8 percent. Also, the number of employees was 23,676,000, demonstrating an increase of 713,000 people.

Overall, what has happened shows a decrease in the active population over the last two years.

Iran’s unemployment rate has been above 10 percent for the last 10 years, and this rate is estimated to have peaked in 2014, when estimates reached 14 percent, according to Statista website.

In 2020, Iran's unemployment rate was estimated to amount to 10.96 percent of the total labor force.

The country’s economy has also been in a recession, which has exacerbated the difficulties to meet the employment demands of its inhabitants.

In times of a struggling economy, it is typically more difficult to create jobs and introduce people to the labor force.


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