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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s unemployment rate, the proportion of jobless population of ages 15 and above, stood at 9.8% in the first quarter of the current Iranian year (March 20-June 20), indicating a 1.1% decline compared with the same period of last year.


A total of 2,505,336 Iranians were unemployed in Q1. Over 1.9 million men and 602,074 women of ages 15 and above were jobless in Q1, according to the latest report by the Statistical Center of Iran.

Men’s unemployment stood at 9% while the rate for women hovered around 13.7%. 

The unemployment rate was 10.7% for urban areas (2.03 million people) and 7.3% for rural areas (472,634 people).



Labor Force Participation, Youth Unemployment 

SCI put Q1 labor force participation rate—the proportion of the population of ages 15 and above that is economically active either employed or looking for job—at 41% or 25.46 million people, registering a 3.7% decrease year-on-year. 

Men’s and women’s economic participation rates were at 67.9% and 14.1% respectively.

About 21.07 million men and 4.39 million women of ages 15 and above were economically active in Q1, i.e., they were either employed or looking for a job.

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 24.5% in Q1, posting a 2% decrease while the unemployment rate of those between 18 and 35 years stood at 16.7%, posting a decline of 1.5% YOY.



Underemployment, Graduate Unemployment, Employment 

Underemployment, the condition in which people in a labor force are employed for less than 44 hours of service per week, stood at 7.9%, down 2.1% year-on-year and was higher for men and those living in rural areas. 

The Q1 underemployment rate for men and women stood at 8.9% and 3.2%, respectively, while it was 6.6% for urban areas and 11.5% for rural areas.

Unemployment rate for university graduates stood at 13.5% in Q1, posting a 3.3% decrease YOY. Higher education unemployment rate for men stood at 10.3% and that of women reached 20.2%.  

The share of higher education unemployment from the total unemployed population was 36% in Q1, which indicate a decrease of 4.4% year-on-year. 

The unemployment shares of male and female graduates from the total unemployed population stood at 24.7% and 71.9%, respectively, while the share of higher education unemployment from the total unemployed population was 38.8% in urban areas and 23.9% in rural areas during the period. 

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 Q1 employment rate was 36.9% (22.96 million), down 2.9% compared with the same quarter of last Iranian year. 

Employment rates for men and women were 61.8% and 12.2%, respectively, which constituted 19.17 million men and 3.78 million women in Q1. 

The rate was 35.7% or 16.99 million in urban areas and 40.8% or 5.97 million in rural areas. 

The share of employment of university graduates stood at 25.2% of the total employed population, wherein male and female graduate employment was 21.3% and 45.1%, respectively. 

Graduate employment rates in urban and rural areas stood at 31.3% and 7.8% of the total population of job-holders, respectively. 

Q1 statistics show that 33.5% of the country’s labor force worked more than 49 hours per week, indicating a 5.8% decrease over the same period of last year. 



Sectoral Review

The services sector employed 49.7% of the Iranian employed population (11.4 million), 0.1% more than the corresponding period of last year, whereas industrial and agricultural sectors provided 31.8% and 18.6% of jobs respectively. 

Over 7.29 million were employed in the industrial sector, indicating an increase of 0.3% compared with the year before and 4.26 million worked in agriculture, posting a 0.3% decline YOY. 

The services sector consists of wholesale and retail trade; restaurants and hotels; transport, storage and communications; financing, insurance, real estate and business services; as well as community, social, education, health and personal services.

The services sector employed 9.24 million men and 2.15 million women in the three-month period; over 6.41 million men and 879,933 women were active in the industrial sector and 3.51 million men and 749,770 women worked in the agriculture sector in Q1. 

Services sector accounted for 59.4% or 10.09 million of all jobs in urban areas and 22% or 1.31 million of jobs in rural areas. The industrial sector made up 33.8% or 5.74 million of the jobs in urban areas and comprised 26% or 1.54 million of employment in rural areas. This is while 6.8% or 1.15 million of the total jobs in urban areas and 52% or 3.1 million of the jobs in rural areas were in the agriculture sector. 

Provincial Review

South Khorasan Province filed the lowest unemployment rate of 4% among all Iranian provinces in Q1 while Lorestan Province registered the highest unemployment rate of 21%. 

Tehran Province, wherein lies the capital city, registered an 8.8% unemployment rate. 

Sixteen provinces, namely South Khorasan (4%), Ardabil (6%), Mazandaran (6.2%), Markazi (6.5%), Ilam (6.5%), Zanjan (6.6%), Fars (6.6%), Khorasan Razavi (7%), Yazd (7.6%),  Hamedan (7.8%), Semnan (8.1%), Tehran (8.8%), East Azarbaijan (9%), Gilan (9%), Qazvin (9.1%) and Bushehr (9.8%) registered single-digit unemployment rates for people of ages 15 and above in Q1. 

Hormozgan had the highest labor force participation rate (46.1%) and Sistan-Baluchestan Province had the lowest labor force participation rate (33.4%), whereas Tehran registered a 40.3% participation rate in winter.  

Zanjan registered the highest employment rate of 41.9% while Sistan-Baluchestan filed the lowest employment rate of 29.1% among all Iranian provinces. Tehran’s employment rate stood at 36.8%. 


Jobless Iran Unemployment