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EghtesadOnline: The Iranian labor market has undergone remarkable transformations in recent years. One such unique change is the rise in the number of persons with income but without a job.

According to a report by the Persian-language daily Iran citing figures released by the Statistical Center of Iran, the economically inactive population of Iran has reached 39.3 million, of whom 27.5 million are women and 11.7 million are men. 

A person is economically inactive, according to the International Labor Organization, if he or she is not part of the labor force. In other words, inactive people are neither employed nor unemployed. 

The inactive population can include pre-school children, schoolchildren, students, pensioners and housewives, for example, provided that they are not working at all and not available or looking for work either; some of these may be of working age, Financial Tribune reported.

Housewives account for the lion’s share of economically inactive population with 20.4 million, followed by students numbering 11.4 million. 

Economically inactive women have formerly looked for a job but decided to leave the labor market after starting a family. Therefore, even with a tighter labor market, they are not expected to seek a job. 

People with income but without occupation constitute more than 5.1 million of the economically inactive population. 

This rise can be attributed to the increase in intermediary practices, renting and living on interest from bank accounts, according to SCI.

The number of jobless earners increased from 1.96 million in the year ending March 2006 to 5.11 million in the year ending March 2018, indicating a 159% growth (or 3.2 million people). 

In the year ending March 2007, there were 2.34 million earners without a job. Their population grew to 2.73 million in the year to March 2008, then to 3.31 in the year to March 2009. This rising trend continued through the following years: 3.46 million people in the year ending March 2010 and 3.77 million in the year leading to March 2011. 

With the introduction of the Targeted Subsidies Law that authorized the reduction of food and energy subsidies and instead allowed the payment of 455,000 rials ($3.5) to each and every Iranian on a monthly basis, the population of people with income but without occupation jumped by 339% to 4.11 million in the Iranian year ending 2012. 

This population reached 4.36 million in the fiscal 2012-13; 4.5 million in the fiscal 2013-14; 4.74 million in the fiscal 2014-15; 4.76 million in the fiscal 2015-16; 4.81 million in the fiscal 2016-17 and 5.11 million in the fiscal 2017-18.

Iran’s unemployment rate, the proportion of jobless population of ages 10 years and above, stood at 12% in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19), indicating a 0.1% rise compared with the year before (March 2017-18). 

A total of 3,260,796 Iranians were unemployed last year, according to the Statistical Center of Iran.

The unemployment rate was 10.4% for men and 18.9% for women. 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% for urban areas (2.7 million people) and 7.9% for rural areas (553,883 people).

SCI has put last year’s labor force participation rate—the proportion of the population of ages 10 years and above 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. 

Men’s and women’s economic participation rates were 64.8% and 16.1% respectively last year. 

According to SCI, 21.71 million of men and 5.35 million of women of ages 10 and above were economically active last year—that is they were either employed or looking for job.


Jobless Iran labor market Population Rise Jobless Earners Earners transformations