EghtesadOnline: The Statistical Center of Iran's latest data on Iran's job market in the first quarter of the current fiscal year (March 20-June 20) show South Khorasan Province registered the lowest unemployment rate of 4% among all Iranian provinces.
This is 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%), recorded single-digit unemployment rates.
Iran’s overall unemployment rate, the proportion of jobless population of ages 15 and above, stood at 9.8% in Q1, indicating a 1.1% decline compared with the same period of last year.
A total of 2,505,336 Iranians were unemployed in spring.
Men’s unemployment stood at 9% while the rate for women hovered around 13.7%.
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.
The unemployment rate was 10.7% for urban areas (2.03 million people) and 7.3% for rural areas (472,634 people).
The center provides two figures for the youth unemployment rate: the proportion of 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.
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 stuck around 20.2%.
The share of higher education unemployment from the total unemployed population was 36% in Q1, which indicates 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.
Hormozgan notched the highest labor force participation rate (46.1%) and Sistan-Baluchestan Province had the lowest participation rate (33.4%).
Tehran registered a 40.3% participation rate in winter.
SCI put Iran's overall Q1 labor force participation rate—the proportion of the population of ages 15 and above that is economically active either employed or looking for a job—at 41% (25.46 million people), registering a 3.7% decrease year-on-year.
Men’s and women’s economic participation rates reached 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.
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%.
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.
Employment 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 rates were 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.
Q1 statistics show 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.
The outbreak of coronavirus and its associated challenges had a significant impact on Iranians in terms of labor force participation—the proportion of the adult population (ages 15 and above) who are employed or seeking jobs—employment and hours worked.
“A total of 2.76 million people [1.3 million men and 1.46 million women] were added to the number of inactive labor force in the first quarter; 14.8% of the employed population and 37.2% of unemployed population in the same period of last year were added to the population of people outside the labor force this year,” says Javad Hosseinzadeh, the head of SCI.
These individuals aren’t included in unemployment calculations, which only capture people who are looking for work. This means that the fall in labor force participation is due to people not searching for work, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and consequently a decline in unemployment rate.
"A decrease in the unemployment rate isn’t necessarily a sign of an improving economy. When people stop looking for jobs and drop out of the labor force, the unemployment rate will decline even though the true employment situation hasn’t improved. For an economy to run satisfactorily, the decline in unemployment rate must coincide with an increase in both economic participation and employment rates," he added.
Hosseinzadeh referred to an unprecedented decline in average working hours due to the pandemic and said the average working hours have decreased from 45.8 hours per week in Q1 of last fiscal year to 40.4 hours per week this spring.
Generally, during the first quarter of the current year, 56.1% of the employed population worked 44 or more hours per week and 36.7% put in fewer than 44 hours while 7.2% were temporarily absent from work, he said.
And in a further sign of the impact of coronavirus on Iran’s labor market, the official said, “Out of the 20 groups of economic activities, only five groups reported an increase in their employed workforce in Q1 compared with last year’s similar period. The highest increase in the number of employees was posted for healthcare and social workers, and the sharpest decline was registered in fields, such as agriculture, industries and manufacturing, retail and wholesale, transportation, education, hotels and restaurants.”