As U.S. sanctions bite, unemployment in Iran rises dramatically

The official figures report the rate of unemployment among Iranian youth has surpassed the general unemployment rate more than two-fold.

January 9, 2019 16:13
2 minute read.
As U.S. sanctions bite, unemployment in Iran rises dramatically

A man walks past Azadi Tower (Liberty Tower) in Azadi Square in Tehran, Iran, January 17, 2016.. (photo credit: RAHEB HOMAVANDI/TIMA VIA REUTERS)


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Unemployment rates rose dramatically in Iran as US sanctions continue to take effect, according to a report on Radio Farda.

Omid Ali Parsai, chairman of the Iranian Statistical Center (ISC), announced that the official unemployment rate among Iranian youth has reached 27 percent, and has surpassed 40 percent for university graduates.

Parsai added that since March, 550,000 jobs have been created. However, 900,000 new jobs is the target figure needed annually to create the needed amount of employment opportunities, a number unlikely to be reached before the end of the Iranian year.

The official figures report the rate of unemployment among Iranian youth has surpassed the general unemployment rate more than two-fold.

However, it is likely that these figures, high as they are, do not represent the true state of the Iranian employment sector.

Official Iranian figures differ greatly from independent statistical centers. For example, Iranian officials count those who work one hour a week as employed, while independent statistical centers classify them as unemployed.

"Even if the unemployment figures have not been manipulated, they are questionable from a methodological point of view" and therefore figures on the year could be much higher than what was originally reported, according to the Farda report.

It has been predicted that least eight percent economic growth is needed in order to reduce unemployment woes, and "such growth has not materialized," according to Radio Farda. The World Bank predicts that in the next year alone Iran will suffer a 3.7% drop in economic growth, with inflation and unemployment rates continuing to rise.

Iran's economy has faced instability in recent months with the national currency, the rial, fluctuating in value, making it difficult for ordinary people to make ends meet.

Sporadic protests linked to the tough economic situation have been led by truck drivers, farmers, workers, merchants and teachers, occasionally resulting in violent confrontations with security forces.

"The sanctions do put pressure on the country and the people," Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, according to a transcript on his website of a speech in Tehran to commemorate an event from the 1979 revolution.

"The Americans happily say that these sanctions are unprecedented in history. Yes, they're unprecedented. And the defeat that the Americans will face will be unprecedented, God willing," he added.

The Iranian government must help the country's weakest, Khamenei added in his speech.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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