EghtesadOnline: The share of Iranian youths (ages 15-24) who were neither in employment, education, nor training (NEET, for short) fell from 31.6% in the Iranian year ending March 2015 to 29.7% last year (March 2018-19), a report by the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare shows.
Over the years under review, NEET rates for young men and women declined by 0.4% and 3.4% respectively.
Close to 15.6% or 969,341 of young men and 48.1% or 2.92 million of young women were neither at work nor in education or training in the year ending March 2015.
NEET rates for men and women stood at 15.6% and 46.8% and their population reached 927,738 and 2.68 million respectively in the Iranian year ending March 2016. The overall NEET rate for young people was at 30.9% that year, Financial Tribune reported.
In the year ending March 2017, the overall NEET rate for young people stood at 30.2%.The male NEET rate was 16% or 922,007 of men while the female NEET rate was 45.3% or 2.46 million of women in the age-group of 15-24.
Close to 15.4% or 846,918 of young men and 44.9% or 2.32 million of young women were neither at work nor in education or training in the year ending March 2018. The overall NEET rate for youth was 29.8% in the same year.
NEET rates for men and women stood at 15.2% and 44.7% and their population reached 813,689 and 2.29 million respectively in the Iranian year ending March 2019.
The Cooperatives Ministry's previous NEET report showed Sistan-Baluchestan registered the highest rate among 31 Iranian provinces in the fiscal 1395 (March 2016-17) with 48.2% of its youths not being in employment, education and training. This is while 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 a NEET rate of below 30%.
An estimated 21.8% of young people in the world were 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 were lowest in developing countries at 8.0%, 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 vulnerable and does not provide adequate earnings.
Regionally, male NEET rates were lowest in East Asia at 3.7%, followed by South Asia at 5.8%. Rates were highest in North Africa at 16.7%, followed by Central and West Asia at 14.8%.
Female NEET rates were much higher. Globally, the female NEET rate was at 34.4%, compared to 9.8% for males.
Young women constitute three out of every four young NEETs, and the disparity was greatest in emerging countries where four out of five young NEETs are female.
In South Asia, nine out of 10 young NEETs were women. The high NEET rates in emerging and developing countries were driven by the large number of young men and, above all, young women, who were inactive and thus did not participate either in the labor force or in education. This contrasts with developed countries where around half of NEETs is unemployed, but available and seeking employment.
Reducing NEET rates for young population 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”.
A long-term NEET status inflicts serious consequences on the economy of a country via missed gains for the economy in terms of lack of productivity.
Besides the serious consequences, the NEET phenomenon represents an alarming social issue. Being NEET means remaining unproductive, losing the opportunity to improve human capital. It also produces the accumulation of several disadvantages that are usually predictors of future long-term unemployment and can lead to poor mental health, particularly depression, with further extra social costs for society.
The consequences are even more serious in cases of a longer period in NEET status. These include isolation, uncertain and low-wage employment, criminality, failing to build a family, higher risk of marital instability and the spread of social ills.