Demand for Egyptian labour has partially recovered from the tumble it took in the wake of last year's uprising but was hobbled over the summer by a decline in private sector hiring, official data showed on Thursday.
Overall demand for Egyptian workers doubled between August 2011 and the same month in 2012 -- soaring from 79 to 157 index points -- suggesting a return to relative normality after the political and economic uncertainty that followed Hosni Mubarak's overthrow.
But figures for recent months show a contraction in job opportunities, especially in the private sector.
The Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC) traces demand for Egyptian labour based on publicly announced vacancies, using 2002 data as the base year for its index.
August's figure for total demand was 25 per cent lower than July's, which experts said partly reflected slowing activity in the construction sector as well as seasonal holidays.
"Private sector activity both in Egypt and in the Gulf region usually slackens during the holy month of Ramadan which coincided with August," said Omneia Helmy, executive director at the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies.
She also noted that Egypt's vital tourism sector has not yet regained "its full momentum," which is also acting to depress employer demand.
Job opportunities displayed in Egypt's National Bulletin of Employment plunged 62.5 per cent between July and August, while vacancies advertised in newspapers dropped 20 per cent over the same period.
Numbers employed by the private sector via the Bulletin fell by 9.5 per cent over the the two summer months. But the annual fall in the uptake of such jobs -- some 43.6 per cent between August 2011 and 2012 -- was a stark sign of the difficulties Egypt has faced over the last year in attracting foreign investment.