Egypt labour demand falls 54 per cent in October

Ahram Online, Thursday 1 Dec 2011

Total labour demand slumps last month on back of severe decline in advertised private-sector employment opportunities

Workers
An unemployed Egyptian protests outside government offices in Cairo (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Demand for Egyptian workers declined by 54 per cent in October compared to the same period last year, according to the Labour Demand Index published by the Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC).

The index reveals that local demand for workers fell by 36 per cent, while demand by other countries for Egyptian workers also fell by 42 per cent year-on-year.

Demand for higher-educated labour, meanwhile, slumped from 500 points in October 2010 to 207 points in October 2011.

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

Demand for Egyptian 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.

The index also saw a sharp slump in August after having risen in the few months following February.

The report also indicates that, while the total number of vacancies declined, the number of jobs offered by the private sector grew by 61 per cent year-on-year in October. Opportunities offered by the government and public sector, however, did not witness a significant change, suggesting that the government had abandoned its traditional mission of filling the employment gap.

Announced vacancies in the private sector fell to 5,236 jobs in October 2011, down from 13,422 jobs in the same month one year earlier.

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

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 currently employed in “vulnerable” positions, i.e., those lacking social insurance, health insurance and unionization.

Egypt's unemployment rate rose to 11.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2011, its highest level in ten years, according to official data. This is 1.8 per cent worse than the previous quarter, which saw an 8.9 per cent rate of unemployment.

Remarkably, this quarter's unemployment rate is 35.3 per cent higher than the same quarter last year.

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