Egypt's index of labour demand falls 37 per cent in May

Ahmed Feteha, Thursday 30 Jun 2011

Total labour demand slumped last month on the back of a severe decline in advertised private sector positions

Source: IDSC

Demand for Egypt workers declined by 37 per cent in May compared to the same period in 2010, according to the total index of labour demand published by the Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC) of Egypt's cabinet.

The index details shows that, while local demand showed a large decline of 65 per cent, demand of other countries for Egyptian workers actually grew by 13 per cent year-on-year.

Demand for intermediate and above intermediate educated labour felt the toughest blow, slumping from 746 points in May 2010 to 188 points in May 2010.

The index traces demand for Egyptian labour based on vacancies announced in national newspapers, a simple index that uses 2002 data as its base year.

Demand for labour slid sharply in the period between December 2010 and February 2011 due to the uprising that eventually led to the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

However, the index was on the rise in March, April and May.

The report also indicates that while the total number of vacancies declined, jobs offered by the public sector grew by 280 per cent year-on-year in May, implying an increased governmental role in filling the employment gap.

Announced vacancies in the private sector fell to 5,320 jobs in May 2011, from 15,460 jobs in May 2010.

The index, however, only captures demand for formal employment, whether in the private or public sector, which is unlikely to reflect the reality of labour situation in Egypt.

Informal employment, which constitutes almost 75 per cent of total workers, is generally not advertised in newspapers. Statistics suggest that over 35 per cent of Egyptian labour is working in vulnerable jobs, lacking social insurance, health insurance and unionisation.

Official data shows the number of unemployed in Egypt reached 3.1 million in the first quarter of 2011, a growth of 799,000 on the fourth quarter of 2010. It represented an unemploytment rate of 11.9 per cent, Egypt's highest in 10 years.

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