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EghtesadOnline: The government of President Hassan Rouhani is among the world’s top five in generating an annual average of 704,000 jobs, a senior presidential advisor said.

“But this extraordinary achievement has gone unnoticed because of the sharp rise in the number of job-seekers,” Masoud Nili was also quoted as saying by the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad.

Nili added that the huge wave of young people seeking employment were ignored by planning officials in the past and now President Rouhani’s administration is caught up in its thrall.  

The Statistical Center of Iran has put labor force participation rate at 40.4% or 26.36 million people for the second quarter of the current Iranian year (June 21-Sept. 20, 2016).

Labor force participation rate is defined as the proportion of the population of ages 10 years and above that is either employed or looking for work.

In the first decade after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran experienced a baby boom and the population became larger and younger.

The Iranian population is now estimated at about 80 million, with roughly 60% of ages 30 or younger.

“There were 9.3 million infants and children in the country in 1986, according to the National Population and Housing Census of that year. Ten years later, those children became teenagers and Iran had around 20 million students, which brought additional pressure on the Education Ministry,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.

Nili slammed the mushrooming of higher education centers in the past 10 years and said the unemployed baby boomers were somehow put out of sight, thanks to their widening participation in higher education.

According to the presidential advisor, the former governments kept a lid on unemployment rates since the growth of universities acted as shock absorbers, offsetting the impact of this vast labor force.

He put the unemployment rate of graduates at 41% and said the youth unemployment has had serious repercussions for the government.

“There were 50,000 job applicants a year in the past, but today one million educated, young job-seekers are on the waiting list for employment. During the past two years, as many as 308,000 unemployed were added every quarter,” he said.

The SCI put Iran’s unemployment rate in summer at 12.7%. The figure registers a 1.8% increase compared with last summer and a 0.5% rise compared with the previous quarter (March 20-June 20, 2016).

The new data show 3.33 million Iranians were unemployed in the second quarter. It also shows 10.4% of men and 21.8% of women of ages 10 and above were jobless during the period.

“Twelve out of 100 women were willing to work in the past,” the economist said, “which figure has now risen to 16, thanks to the development of higher education.”

Men’s and women’s economic participation rates were 64.9% and 15.9% respectively in the second quarter.

Hassan Rouhani Masoud Nili Iran labor market Iran Job Creation