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EghtesadOnline: The unemployment rate for university graduates stood at 14.1% in the fourth quarter of the last Iranian year (Dec. 21, 2020-March 20), posting a 1.5% year-on-year decrease, according to the latest report of the Statistical Center of Iran.

Higher education unemployment rate for men stood at 10% and that of women was around 23.5%.  

The share of higher education unemployment from the total unemployed population was 38.8% in Q4, which indicate a decline of 0.2% year-on-year. 

The unemployment shares of male and female graduates from the total unemployed population stood at 26.4% and 71%, respectively, while the share of higher education unemployment from the total unemployed population were 42.6% in urban areas and 24.1% in rural areas during the period.

Iran’s overall unemployment rate, the proportion of jobless population of ages 15 and above, stood at 9.7% in Q4, indicating a 0.9% decline compared with the same period of the year before. 

A total of 2,477,850 Iranians were unemployed in Q4. Men’s unemployment stood at 8.4% while the rate for women hovered around 16.5%. Over 1.79 million men and 685,934 women of ages 15 and above were jobless in Q4.   

The unemployment rate was 10.2% for urban areas (1.96 million people) and 8% for rural areas (508,580 people).

SCI put Q4 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 40.9% or 25.61 million people, registering a 1.5% decrease year-on-year. 

The economic participation rates of men and women were 68.5% and 13.3% respectively in the same period.

SCI reports that 21.44 million men and 4.16 million women of ages 15 and above were economically active in Q4, i.e., they were either employed or looking for a job.

The services sector employed 50.4% of the Iranian employed population (11.66 million), 2.3% less than the corresponding period of last year, whereas industrial and agricultural sectors provided 33.8% and 15.8% of jobs respectively. 

Over 7.81 million were employed in the industrial sector, indicating an increase of 2.1% compared with the same period of the year before and 3.65 million worked in agriculture, posting a 0.2% increase 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 sector employed 9.67 million men and 1.99 million women in the three-month period; over 6.88 million men and 927,211 women were working in the industrial sector and 3.09 million men and 562,828 women worked in the agriculture sector in Q4. 

Services accounted for 59.2% or 10.23 million of all jobs in urban areas and 24.4% or 1.42 million of jobs in rural areas. The industrial sector made up 34.9% or 6.04 million of the jobs in urban areas and comprised 30.3% or 1.77 million of employment in rural areas. 

This is while 5.8% or one million of the total jobs in urban areas and 45.3% or 2.64 million of the jobs in rural areas were in the agriculture sector.



Pandemic Effect

The decline in unemployment comes as labor force participation has shrunk in line with job losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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 economically inactive population 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 more than 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 biggest 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. The participation rates of men and women 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: Out of 1.2 million persons who lost their job in Q2, 817,000 were from the services sector. Out of 22 groups of economic activities, only three groups: “financial and insurance activities”, “construction” and “administrative activities and support services” saw growth in employed population. The sharpest declines were registered by the groups of “accommodation and food services”, “information and communications” and “art, leisure and entertainment”.

The International Monetary Fund expects the unemployment rate in Iran to rise from 10.8% in 2020 to 11.2% in 2021.

In its new World Economic Outlook report titled “Managing Divergent Recoveries”, the IMF projects the jobless rate to stand at 11.7% in 2022.


Iran Unemployment Graduates