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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s unemployment rate stood at 12.1% in the last fiscal year that ended on March 20, registering a 0.3% drop compared with the year before, according to the latest report by the Statistical Center of Iran.

A total of 3.21 million Iranians were unemployed last year. 

The center has put last year’s labor force participation rate—the proportion of the population of ages 10 years and above who were economically active (either employed or looking for work)—at 40.3% or 26.58 million people, registering a 0.9% rise compared with the year before. 

Women unemployment rate stood at 19.8% while joblessness among men hovered around 10.2%; that is over 2.17 million men and 1.03 million women of ages 10 and above were jobless last year, Financial Tribune reported. 

Men’s and women’s economic participation rates were 64.5% and 16% respectively last year. 

According to SCI, 21.35 million of men and 5.23 million of women of ages 10 and above were economically active last year.

The unemployment rate was 13.4% for urban areas (2.63 million people) and 8.2% for rural areas (572,913 people).

 Two Figures 

for Youth Unemployment

The SCI releases two figures for the youth unemployment rate: the proportion of the population between the ages of 15 and 24, and those between 15 and 29 years.   

The youth unemployment rate of those between 15 and 24 years, stood at 28.4% last year, posting a 0.8% decrease while the unemployment rate of those between 15 and 29 years, stood at 25.3% last year and posted a 0.6% decrease compared with the year before. 

  Lowest, Highest Provincial Rates

Semnan and Markazi provinces filed the lowest unemployment rate of 7.9% among all Iranian provinces last year, while Kermanshah Province had the highest unemployment rate of 21.6%. 

Tehran Province, wherein lies the capital city, registered an 11% unemployment rate.

Only four provinces, namely North Khorasan (9.7%), Hormozgan (9%), Semnan (7.9%) and Markazi Province (7.9%), registered single-digit unemployment rates in the last fiscal.

North Khorasan had the highest labor force participation rate (45.3%) and Sistan-Baluchestan had the lowest labor force participation rate (30.7%), whereas Tehran registered a 40.4% participation rate last year.  

Employment is defined as persons of working age engaged in any activity to produce goods or provide services for pay or profit, whether at work during the reference period or not at work due to a temporary absence from a job, or to working-time arrangement.

The total employment rate in the last fiscal was 35.5% (23.37 million). Employment rates were 57.9% and 12.8% for men and women, respectively; 19.18 million men and 4.19 million women were employed last year. The employment rate was 34.3% or 17 million in urban areas and 38.9% or 6.37 million in rural areas.

Underemployment, the condition in which people in a labor force are employed for less than 44 hours of service per week, constitutes 10.4% of the country’s population and was higher among men compared to women and among those living in rural areas. 

The underemployment rate of men and women stood at 11.6% and 5.1%, respectively while underemployment rate was 9.3% in urban areas and 13.4% in rural areas. Moreover, 38.8% of job holders worked 49 hours or more per week. 

  Services Sector Holds 

Lion’s Share of All Employments

The services sector employed 50.4% of the Iranian population (11.77 million), whereas industrial and agricultural sectors provided 32% and 17.6% of the population with jobs respectively. 

Over 7.48 million were employed in the industrial sector and 4.1 million worked in the field of agriculture last year. 

The services sector consists of wholesale and retail trade; restaurants and hotels; transport, storage and communications; financing, insurance, real estate and business services; as well as community, social, education, health and personal services.

The services sector employed 9.54 million men and 2.22 million women last year. Over 6.41 million men and 1.06 million women were working in the industrial sector and 3.21 million of men and 894,351 women worked in agriculture sector last year. 

Services sector accounted for 60.1% or 10.21 million of all jobs in urban areas and 24.4% or 1.5 million of the jobs in rural areas. 

Industrial sector made up 34.5% or 5.8 million of the jobs in urban areas and 25.5% or 1.62 million of employment in rural areas whereas 5.4% or 919,228 of the total jobs in urban areas and 50% or 3.19 million of the jobs in rural areas were in the agriculture sector.  

The government is planning to create 1.03 million jobs this year (March 2018-19), according to Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, the head of Iran’s Management and Planning Organization and government spokesman.


Statistical Center of Iran Iran unemployment Iran unemployment rate