CAIRO: Egypt’s unemployment rate slipped for the first time in three years to 12.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to 13.3 percent in the previous quarter, state statistical body CAPMAS announced in its quarterly report issued Monday.
The unemployment rate has surged over the past four years due to the slowdown in Egypt’s economic activities, especially in labor-intensive activities like construction, agriculture and tourism after the January 25 Revolution.
“The total labor force hiked to 27.7 million Egyptians in Q4, marking an increase of 1.3 percent (353,000 workers) compared to the same period a year earlier,” said CAPMAS.
CAPMAS attributed the recent slip to the improvement in some economic activities, namely tourism, construction and building, as well as telecommunications.
Unemployment among males and females dipped to 9.2 percent and 24.8 percent in Q4 compared to 10 percent and 25 percent respectively in Q4 2013, added CAPMAS.
Meanwhile, 63 percent of the unemployed are young people from between 15 and 29 years old, CAPMAS reported. Further, 67.6 percent of the jobless are educated, 24.3 percent are university and high studies graduates, and the rest have obtained medium or upper-medium education.
The International Monetary Fund stated in its October World Economic Outlook report that Egypt’s unemployment rate was likely to surge to 13.9 percent in 2015, up from 13.6 percent in 2014.
The fund, however, had a more optimistic outlook in its first major assessment of Egypt’s economy since 2011 last week, predicting growth to reach 3.8 percent in 2014/15 and to rise “steadily” to 5 percent over the medium term.
The IMF said this “would create jobs and reduce unemployment.”
In an attempt to curb a soaring unemployment, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi launched the new Suez Canal project Aug. 5. The labor-intensive project aims to dig a new 72-km branch of the Suez Canal at a total cost of $4 billion alongside the existing waterway.