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EghtesadOnline: T he share of Iranian young people (ages 15-24) who were not in employment, education or training (NEETs, for short) fell from 38.3% in the fiscal 2011-12 to 36.2% in 2016-17, according to a report by the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare.

The acronym NEET was first used in the United Kingdom but its use has spread to other countries and regions, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States. 

Close to 23.8% of Iranian young men (1.43 million) and 49% of young women (2.85 million) were neither at work nor in education or training in the fiscal 2016-17. 

Generally, one out of three Iranian young people did not participate in the labor market at all in that year. Notably, NEET women have more than doubled compared to men in that year, despite a 4.1% decline in their number compared with five years ago, according to Financial Tribune.

The rate shows a 0.1% growth among men, according to the findings of the latest National Population and Housing Census.   

Sistan-Baluchestan registered the highest NEET rate among 31 Iranian provinces in 2016-17 with 48.2% of its youths not being in employment, education, and training. Semnan posted the lowest NEET rate of 22.6%. 

The NEET rate was above 40% in Golestan, Hormozgan, Kermanshah, Lorestan, West Azarbaijan, Khuzestan, Kurdestan and Hamedan. On the other end, Semnan, Yazd, Isfahan and Tehran registered NEET rates of below 30%.   

An estimated 21.8% of young people in the world are neither in employment nor in education or training, most of them female, according to a report by the International Labor Organization entitled "Global Employment Trends for Youth 2017". Male NEET rates are lowest in developing countries at 8%, followed by emerging countries at 9.6% and developed countries at 11.3%. 

NEET rates are lower in developing countries where, in the absence of social protection mechanisms, people cannot afford not to work, even if such work is unsatisfactory and does not provide adequate income. 

Regionally, male NEET rates are lowest in East Asia at 3.7%, followed by South Asia at 5.8%. Rates are highest in North Africa at 16.7%, followed by Central and West Asia at 14.8%.

Female NEET rates are much higher. Globally, the female NEET rate is 34.4%, compared to 9.8% for males. Young women comprise three out of every four young NEETs and the disparity is largest in emerging countries where four out of five young NEETs are female. 

In South Asia, in particular, nine out of 10 young NEETs are women. The high NEET rates in emerging and developing countries are driven by the large numbers of young men and, above all, young women, who are inactive and thus do not participate either in the labor force or in education. This contrasts with developed countries where around half of NEETs are unemployed, but available and looking for employment.

Reducing youth NEET rates is one of the primary targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development under Goal 8 on “Promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.


Iran unemployment Iran NEET Unemployment