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Egypt’s Unemployment Hits a Record Low in 2017

By: Amr Eleraqi

Egypt’s unemployment levels have been on the fall for the past five years, according to official statistics. In 2017, 11.8 percent of the country’s labor force was jobless — the lowest rate since 2011, when it stood at 12 percent. 

According to the latest “Egypt in Figures” booklet released by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) this month, the Egyptian labor force totaled more than 29 million people in the last three months of 2017, with 78 percent for male. There were 3.3 million unemployed persons: 1.55 million women and 1.75 million men. 
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When it comes to the governorates, the recent data from 2016, shows that Suez has the highest unemployment rate, with almost 24 percent of the labor force unoccupied — a percentage four times larger than in the governorate with the lowest rate, South Sinai. At the same time, the latter — known for its touristic spots such as Dahab and Sharm El Sheikh — sees unemployment among women at a rate more than five times higher than that of men.

The situation is seen all over the country. In every governorate, women suffered more from unemployment than men: the national average for the last quarter of 2017 showed a rate of unoccupied women nearly three times higher than that of men.
In fact, in 5 governorates, an average of 4 in every 10 women are unemployed: Luxor, North Sinai, Aswan, Suez and the Red Sea. Only two out of Egypt 27 governorates showed an unemployment rate among women below 10 percent: Beni-Suef and Menoufia. By contrast, only five showed an unoccupancy rate higher than 10 percent for the men. 
7 out of the 10 governorates with the highest unemployment were urban, where the average rates stood at 15 percent; for the rural governorates, it was 12 percent. In 2016, 31 percent of unemployed were university graduates, a percentage that came in second only to those who finished technical and intermediate levels. People with high school or Al-Azhar degrees were 1.4 percent of the unemployed population, the lowest rate.

If Egyptian governorates were MENA countries…

Still, the World Bank’s data shows lower percentage of unemployed Egyptians in 2017 with 11.6 percent. Comparing the latter figure to the rates of the other 19 MENA countries, Egypt ranks right in the middle, at #10. Gulf countries such as Qatar and Bahrain showed the lowest unemployment rates, below 2 percent. While, the West Bank and Gaza have the highest with 26 percent of its labor force unoccupied. 
In an attempt to compare the ranking of Egyptian cities with the ranking of the Arab countries, we find the following:
  • Yemen
Luxor has Yemen’s situation

  • Jordan
Cairo has Jordan’s situation
  • Libya
Red Sea, Aswan, Port Said and North Sinai have the same situation of Libya

  • Syria
Alexandria, Sharkia, Ismailia, Kalyoubia and Gharbia have the same situation of Syria

  • Algeria
Behera and Menia have the same situation of Algeria

  • Iran
Dakahlia has Iran’s situation
  • Lebonon
Fayoum and Menoufia have 
Lebanon’s situation
  • Djibouti
South Sinai has Djibouti’s situation
  • Morocco
Qena, Asyout, Damietta, Matrouh, New Valley, Suhag, Kafr-El-Sheikh and Beni-Suef have the same situation of Morocco

Amr Eleraqi is the executive director of InfoTimes. With 12 years of experience in the media industry, he is a pioneer in data journalism and data storytelling in the region.



Amr Eleraqi

Amr Eleraqi is the executive director of InfoTimes. With 12 years of experience in the media industry, he is a pioneer in data journalism and data storytelling in the region.