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EghtesadOnline: The population of the unemployed in Iran currently stands at 2.4 million, 40% of whom are university graduates, according to the director general of Employment and Policymaking Department of the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare.

“Over the past year, some one million people were made redundant. More than 730,000 of these are receiving unemployment insurance,” Alaeddin Azvaji was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

Every year, the official added, between 600,000 and 700,000 employment seekers enter the job market.

“The government has been creating around 450,000 jobs per year since the fiscal 2017-18,” he said.

A recent survey conducted by the Social Security Organization’s Research Institute among over 700,000 applicants of unemployment insurance benefits shows 61.9% of them have been the head of household and 27.1% lived in families with another wage earner. 

According to Rouzbeh Kerdouni, the head of the institute, 40.4% of the respondents were women and 59.6% were men.

Noting that 21.2% of the participants surveyed were single and 72.4% were married, he added, “Of those who applied for unemployment benefits and surveyed, 22.6% had permanent and 77.4% held temporary contracts, 86.4% of them had never received benefits before and 76.7% of respondents said they themselves had applied for unemployment insurance.” 

“The poll also found that 77.1% of the respondents were employed in the services sector, 1.4% in the agriculture and 21.5% in the industrial sector. Seventy-six percent of these people were full-time employees and 24% were paid based on the hours they worked and 58.2% stated that their employers did not provide them with a copy of their contracts,” he was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency. 

Kerdouni added that 87.9% of the respondents were receiving state cash subsidies under the Targeted Subsidies Law of 2010 and 54.6% were receiving cash subsidies under the so-called Livelihood Assistance Program.

The Targeted Subsidies Law of 2010 authorized the reduction of food and energy subsidies, and instead allowed the payment of 455,000 rials ($1.8) to each and every Iranian on a monthly basis. The plan has been retained so far and more than 95% of Iranians currently receive the monthly cash subsidy. 

Cash transfer to people as compensation for higher gasoline prices were granted to 60 million people. They receive cash support worth a total of 24,200 billion rials ($98 million) through the so-called Livelihood Assistance Program launched on Nov. 19, 2019.



SCI Report

According to the latest report by the Statistical Center of Iran, Iran’s unemployment rate, the proportion of jobless population of ages 15 and above, stood at 9.4% in the third quarter of the current fiscal year (Sept. 22-Dec. 20, 2020), indicating a 1.2% decline compared with the same period of last year. 

Men’s unemployment stood at 8.1% while the rate for women hovered around 15.9%. 

Over 1.73 million men and 700,153 women of ages 15 and above were jobless in Q3.   

SCI put Q3 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 41.4% or 25.84 million people, registering a 2.9% year-on-year decrease. 

Men’s and women’s economic participation rates were at 68.8% and 14.1% respectively.

The SCI report shows that 21.45 million men and 4.39 million women of ages 15 and above were economically active in Q3, i.e., they were either employed or looking for 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 23.7% in Q3, posting a 2.1% decrease while the unemployment rate of those between 18 and 35 years stood at 16.5%, posting a decline of 1.4% YOY.

Unemployment rate for university graduates stood at 14.3% in Q3, posting a 3.1% decrease YOY. Higher education unemployment rate for men stood at 10.3% and that of women stuck around 23.4%.  

The share of higher education unemployment from the total unemployed population was 40.2% in Q3, which indicates a decrease of 3.1% year-on-year. 

The unemployment shares of male and female graduates from the total unemployed population stood at 28.1% and 70.3%, respectively, while the share of higher education unemployment from the total unemployed population were 43.4% in urban areas and 27% in rural areas during the period.  

The services sector employed 49% of the Iranian employed population (11.48 million), 1% less than the corresponding period of last year, whereas industrial and agricultural sectors provided 34.3% and 16.7% of jobs respectively. 

Over 8.02 million were employed in the industrial sector, indicating an increase of 1.4% compared with last year and 3.9 million worked in agriculture, posting a 0.4% 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 9.49 million men and 1.98 million women in the three-month period, of whom 6.95 million men and 1.06 million women were working in the industrial sector and 3.27 million men and 632,542 women worked in the agriculture sector in Q3. 

Services sector accounted for 58.1% or 10.12 million of all jobs in urban areas and 22.7% or 1.35 million of jobs in rural areas. The industrial sector made up 35.5% or 6.17 million of the jobs in urban areas and comprised 30.7% or 1.84 million of employment in rural areas. 

This is while 6.4% or 1.11 million of the total jobs in urban areas and 46.6% or 2.79 million of the jobs in rural areas were in the agriculture sector.  



Parliamentary Think Tank’s Report

The economically active population, the sum of employed and unemployed persons, reduced by 1.62 million in the second quarter of the current fiscal year (June 21-Sept. 21), indicating a 3.1% decline in labor force participation rate compared with the corresponding period of last year, according to a report by Majlis Research Center, the research arm of the Iranian parliament.

According to this report, 22.3% of the unemployed and 8.9% of employed persons were added to the population of economically inactive in Q2. 

Had they joined the population of people looking for a job, the unemployment rate of the period under review would have been 18.5% rather than the official 9.5% announced by the Statistical Center of Iran. 

The MRC report continues: “Of the 1.62 million people of the active population that dropped out of the labor market in Q2, 1.01 million were women and 615,651 were men. The second quarter’s economic participation rate fell 3.1% year-on-year to reach 41.8%. In fact, women have experienced the greatest job losses in Q2. Out of 1.2 million people who lost their jobs in Q2, 460,000 were men and 750,000 were women. Men and women’s participation rates dropped by 2.7% and 3.5% to hit 69.5% and 14.1%, respectively. 

The services sector accounted for the biggest share of the unemployed, such that out of the 1.2 million persons who lost their employment in Q2, 817,000 were from the services sector.  

Out of 22 groups of economic activities, only three groups, namely “financial and insurance activities”, “construction” and “administrative activities and support services” saw growth in employed population. 

The sharpest declines were registered by three groups of “accommodation and food services”, “information and communications” and “art, leisure and entertainment”.


Jobless Iran labor