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Monday, 16 August 2021

Unemployment flat quarter-on-quarter in 2Q2021

Egypt’s unemployment rate was largely flat in 2Q2021 at 7.3%, improving just 0.1 percentage points from the preceding quarter, according to official figures (pdf) released yesterday by state statistics agency Capmas.

That’s still a huge improvement from 2Q2020, during which the jobless count rose to a two-year high due to the covid-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate hit 9.6% between April and June last year as the partial lockdown of the economy took its toll on the job market.

Egypt had fewer unemployed in 2Q2021 — and fewer people in the workforce. The labor force participation rate — which looks at those between the ages of 15 and 64 — fell to 41.9% from 42.2% in 1Q2021. The size of the workforce fell to 29.1 mn, down from almost 29.3 mn in the previous quarter. Capmas suggests the declines were the result of covid-19, likely meaning factors at play here include government support to people who lost their jobs during covid, measures in place to curb covid-19, and subdued economic growth thanks to the pandemic.

The unemployment rate among women which is consistently recorded as much higher than that among men came in at its lowest in over a year at 15%, down 0.9 percentage points q-o-q and 1.2 percentage points y-o-y. As we noted at the height of the pandemic, that could mean that many working moms left the workforce to stay home and look after kids. Unemployment among men stood at 5.7% in the second quarter, up from 5.6% in the first quarter, its highest since 3Q2020 — though still well below its 2Q2020 peak of 8.5%. Youth unemployment came in at 68.4%, up more than 8 percentage points from 60% in April-June last year.

The figures come on the back of the most positive PMI reading for employment since 2019: Employment in Egypt’s non-oil private sector rose for the first time since late 2019 in July, according to last month’s purchasing managers’ index.

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