Minister: Iran spends $18 bln for job creation, unemployment drops
Azerbaijan, Baku, July 22/Trend M. Moezzi
The unemployment rate in Iran dropped from 13.5 percent in 2010 to 12.3 percent in 2011, showing the government is moving in the right direction.
The figures were cited by Iran's Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, Abdolreza Sheikholeslami, during a visit to the Majlis (parliament), Mehr news agency reports.
Mr. Sheikholeslami told MPs the administration spent over $18.3 billion on job creation last year.
The Labor Minister pointed to the 48 meetings held by the country's High Employment Council over the last two years as a sign of the government's focus on creating jobs. The Council was legally mandated to meet only five times. But creating jobs is highly dependent on the financial facilities offered by banks and Iranian banks didn't participate in the ministry's jobs creation roadmap like the government had planned. Last year the Labor Ministry anticipated banks would issue $37 billion in facilities for job creation, but only half of that was provided.
Meanwhile, a report issued earlier this summer by the Statistical Centre of Iran painted a grimmer unemployment picture than the one provided by Mr. Sheikholeslami.
That report said the unemployment rate among young, university educated Iranians between the ages of 15 to 29, ranges between 20 to 46 per cent. According to the data issued by the Statistical Centre of Iran, while the unemployment rate among young Iranians, those aged 15 to 24, has gone from 23.8 per cent in the spring of 2005 to 25.7 per cent in the spring of 2011, things are even worse for women. At the start of the Iranian year in 2005 (Iran's solar year starts on March 20), the unemployment rate for women stood at 30 per cent. That rate grew to 45 per cent in 2011.
Unofficial figures estimate Iran's overall unemployment rate to be between 20 to 40 percent.