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.