Egypt’s unemployment rate rises to 12.4%

Egypt's fourth quarter unemployment rate rose by two percentage points from the previous quarter, the government’s statistics office said on its website on Saturday.

Unemployment, one of the key triggers of the mass demonstrations that toppled Hosni Mubarak, rose to 12.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. The rate was 11.9 percent in the third quarter of 2011, said the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

Official figures, however, do not fully reflect the workplace due to Egypt's high levels of informal employment.

CAPMAS added that the total workforce is around 26 million, out of the population 81 million. In the fourth quarter, more than 300,000 people joined the workforce.

Around 22 percent of the official workforce is women.

These figures show that an increase in unemployment is one of the negative aspects of the January 25 revolution. They also give a broad indication of Egypt's deteriorating economic performance.

This month, the World Bank said Egypt has asked for a US$1 billion loan.

The military-backed government is also in talks with the International Monetary Fund on a possible $3.2 billion loan to help stabilize the country’s troubled economy.

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