EghtesadOnline: Iran’s unemployment rate stood at 10.7% in the last Iranian year (March 2019-20), indicating a 1.5% decline compared with the year before, the latest report by the Statistical Center of Iran shows.
Labor force participation rate—the proportion of the population of ages 15 and above that is either employed or looking for a job—stood at 44.1%, registering a 0.4% decrease year-on-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.
Last year’s total employed population was over 24.27 million, nearly 430,000 more than the year before.
The services sector employed 50.3% of the Iranian employed population last year, whereas industrial and agricultural sectors provided 32% and 17.7% of jobs, respectively.
The center provides two figures for the youth unemployment rate: the proportion of the population between 15 and 24 years and those between 18 and 35 years.
The youth unemployment rate of those between 15 and 24 years stood at 26%, posting a 1.7% decrease while the unemployment rate of those between 18 and 35 years stood at 17.9%, posting a decline of 1.7% YOY.
Underemployment, the condition in which people in a labor force are employed for less than 44 hours of service per week, stood at 9.9% while 38% of the country’s employed population worked more than 49 hours per week.
Hundreds of Thousands File for Benefits
A total of 783,000 people have filed for unemployment since March 13, of whom 654,000 were found eligible for benefits, Masoud Babaie, an official with the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, said last week.
“The total number of individuals receiving unemployment benefits last year was 260,000,” he was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
Hojjat Mirzaie, an official with the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, said earlier that most of those who have filed for unemployment were employed in the services sector.
Ali Rabiei, government spokesman, has said the economy could lose up to four million jobs as a result of the new coronavirus.
“More than 12 million workers are employed in the services sector. The early impacts of unemployment can be seen in 10 business groups that were closed after the virus was confirmed. Close to 3.3 million of the employed population in the official economy are directly affected by the crisis,” he was quoted as saying by the Persian-language daily Etemad.
According to Anushirvan Mohseni-Bandpay, the provincial governor of Tehran, out of those who have filed for unemployment insurance, 149,000 hail from Tehran Province.
Tehran Province, wherein lies the capital city, registered an 8.8% unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of the current Iranian year (Dec. 22, 2019-March 19). The province’s employment rate stood at 38% and its labor force participation rate was 41.7% in winter, according to the latest data provided by the Statistical Center of Iran.
Allocation to Unemployment Insurance Fund
In early April, Babaie said the government would allocate 50,000 billion rials ($308 million) to Unemployment Insurance Fund to support those who have lost their jobs amid the outbreak of coronavirus.
“To prevent the spread of the virus, applicants are urged to fill out online forms for unemployment benefits at the newly-designed website 'bimebikari.mcls.gov.ir' within 30 days, rather than going personally to the ministry’s bureaus,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“As per a joint guideline signed by the Cooperatives Ministry and the Social Security Organization on March 30, workers of 10 job groups and economic subsectors that have been hit by coronavirus outbreak and are subject to the provisions of the Islamic Republic of Iran Labor Law, the Social Security Act and the Unemployment Insurance Law will qualify to receive unemployment benefits for three months.”
The official noted that other insurers, such as those who have insured the self-employed, construction workers and carpet weavers, were not eligible for unemployment benefits.
Earlier, the Central Bank of Iran released a list of businesses that have been directly affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. These businesses can apply to receive bank support and facilities.
The list includes food preparation and distribution centers, including restaurants, buffets, teahouses and other such centers; tourism centers, including hotels, inns, hostels, road recreation and service providing centers and other such businesses identified by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade; air, rail and road transportation companies conducting inter- or intra-city; travel agencies; apparel production and distribution units; bag and footwear production and distribution units; distributors of nuts and dried fruit, confectioneries, ice cream and juice; sport, recreational, cultural and educational centers; and handicraft production and distribution centers, ILNA reported.