The nationwide unemployment rate remained steady through the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2013, registering 13.4% of the population, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics reported in an official statement.
According to CAPMAS, 3.6 million Egyptians are unemployed, a 0.5% increase from the previous quarter and a 57.3% increase compared to the same quarter in 2010.
Hala El-Saeed, economics professor at Cairo University, said “this percentage is realistic when conducted on a general level nationwide; however, when it is demographically dissected we can expect a larger figure.”
“Unemployment rates in Upper Egypt can reach 50%,” El-Saeed said.
CAPMAS reported that the total labour force in Egypt witnessed a minimal increase to reach 27.3m, a 0.3% increase compared to the preceding quarter. Total labour force has surged by 4.4% since Q4 2010.
The report indicated that youth constitutes 69% of the total unemployed, an around 1.8% decrease compared to Q3 2013. The majority of the unemployed youth, 39% of the total 69%, were found in the 20 to 24 year-old tranche.
El Saeed called such rates “very, very high,” adding that employment campaigns aiming to offer new job opportunities should be a priority at all the government’s institutions.
Earlier last month, 70 local and international companies participated in an employment fair organised by the Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade’s Industrial Training Council (ITC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth. Minister of Industry and Foreign trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said the fair would offer 16,000 job opportunities for Egyptian youth in Cairo, Giza, Qaliubiya and 10th of Ramadan in different industrial sectors.
“Each year 750,000 to 800,000 new job opportunities should be offered for fresh graduates,” El Saeed said. “Unemployment [increases] when the opportunities offered are less than these figures.”
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) pointed out in its 2014 Global Employment trends report, published in January, that the ability of foreign direct investment (FDI) to affect unemployment rates is largely dependent on the sector to which it is directed.
“In Egypt, 45% of total FDI inflows were directed to the petroleum sector,” the ILO noted. “Not only are these sectors capital-intensive, they also offer job opportunities for a very limited number of occupations.”
The report indicated that around 30% of working males in Egypt are overqualified for their current position, while around 10% are under qualified. It added that over 35% of women are overqualified and some 9% are under qualified.