Unemployment down to 9.12%

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) has announced that the rate of unemployment has dropped to 9.12 percent in the first three months of 2010 compared to 9.4 percent in the last quarter of 2009.

The size of Egypt’s labor force currently stands at 26.186 million, up by 924,000 from last year. The current size of the labor force represents 33.6 percent of the total size of the population during the first quarter of 2010.

A report published by CAPMAS yesterday said the percentage of unemployed graduates who hold intermediate, above-intermediate and university certificates is estimated at 91.9 percent. The percentage of unemployed youth between the ages of 15 and 29 is around 75.9 percent, the report added.

Agricultural workers and fishermen represent the biggest portion of the labor force with 6.696 workers, followed by processing industries with 2.912 million workers, then retail and wholesale businesses with 2.717 million, and finally the construction sector with 2.65 million.

Sherif Sami, an economic expert and member of the economic committee of the ruling National Democratic Party, dismissed the validity of the data by CAPMAS. Sami added that the government does not have the mechanisms to collect accurate data, given the lack of a database on the job market in Egypt, and especially with large numbers of Egyptians working in the informal sector.

The Information and Decision Support Center, a think tank of the Egyptian cabinet, relies on job advertisements in newspapers to gather data on the job market, he added.

Meanwhile, Alia el-Mahdi, dean of Cairo University’s Faculty of Economics and Political Science, said that while the unemployment rate drop is only a slight one, it indicates that the rate has stabilized. She did not however question the validity of the data provided by CAPMAS, saying that so long as the definitions, approach and data-collection methods used are fixed, then the results should be valid.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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