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EghtesadOnline: The unemployment rate fell below 10% for PhD holders and those with school certificates below diploma in the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2019), whereas it topped out at 20.3% for bachelor’s degree holders.

The proportion of jobless population of those above 10 years stood at 5.5% for PhD holders, 15.3% for medical and master’s degree holders, 20.3% for bachelor’s degree holders, 16.8% for people with associate degrees, 12.6% for those with high school diplomas and 8.7% for workers with a certificate below high school diploma, according to a report by Donya-e-Eqtesad citing the Statistical Center of Iran.

The unemployment rate stood at 12% last year, indicating a 0.1% rise compared with the year before (March 2017-18). 

According to SCI, a total of 3,260,796 Iranians were unemployed last year, such that it was 10.4% for men and 18.9% for women during the period. Over 2.25 million men and 1.01 million women of ages 10 and above were jobless last year. The unemployment rate was 13.5% in urban areas (2.7 million people) and 7.9% in rural areas (553,883 people), according to Financial Tribune.

SCI has put last year’s labor force participation rate—the proportion of the population of those above 10 years that is economically active: either employed or looking for work—at 40.5% or 27.07 million people, registering a 0.4% rise year-on-year.

Economic participation rates higher than 70% were recorded for students and graduates of master’s degree, master of medical sciences and PhD. 

The economically active population of PhD holders stood at 175,000 last year; medical and master’s degree holders 1.5 million; bachelor’s degree holders 4.5 million; associate degree holders 1.4 million; those with high school diploma 6.3 million and workers with a school certificate below diploma 11.3 million. 

According to SCI, 21.71 million men and 5.35 million women ages 10 and above were economically active last year—either employed or looking for job. Men’s and women’s economic participation rates were 64.8% and 16.1% respectively last year.



Unemployment Rates by Major

SCI’s analysis indicates architecture and construction majors had the highest unemployment with 26.1% last year whereas the unemployment rate was the lowest for graduates of security-related jobs in the military with 4.4%. 

University majors with unemployment rates below 10% were health, veterinary, journalism and education last year. The unemployment rate of engineering majors hovered around 19% whereas that of medicine, dentistry, nursing, midwifery, pharmacy and traditional medicine was 8.7%. 

Job market for veterinary medicine students fared best last year with an unemployment rate of 7.3% and economic participation rate of 74.3%.   

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

The youth unemployment rate of those between 15 and 24 stood at 27.7% last year, posting a 0.5% decrease while the unemployment rate of those between 15 and 29 stood at 25.1%, posting no change compared with the previous year.

The share of higher education from the total rate of unemployment was 38.5% last year, which indicates an increase of 1.4% YOY. 

The unemployment rates of male and female graduates stood at 26.1% and 65.9% respectively while higher education unemployment rates were 41.4% in urban areas and 23.9% in rural areas during the period under review.  

Underemployment, the condition in which people in a labor force are employed for less than 44 hours per week, stood at 10.8% and was higher among men compared to women and among those living in rural areas. 

The underemployment rate of men and women stood at 12% and 5.8%, respectively, while the underemployment rate was 9.4% in urban areas and 14.6% in rural areas last year. 

Some 38.3% of job holders worked 49 hours or more per week, registering a decline of 0.7% YOY.

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 of last year was 35.6% (23.81 million). In the last fiscal year, men and women employment rates were 58.1% and 13% respectively, of whom 19.46 million were men and 4.34 million were women. The employment rate was 34.4% or 17.38 million in urban areas and 39.2% or 6.43 million in rural areas.

The employment rate of university graduates stood at 23.9% of the total employed population, while the male and female graduate employment rates were 20.4% and 39.2%, respectively. 

The respective graduate employment rates in urban and rural areas stood at 30% and 7.2% of the total population of job-holders.


Iran labor market unemployment rate Analysis Education-Based Analysis Education PhD holders school certificates diploma