Iran un­em­ploy­ment hit 12.2% in June

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Iran’s un­em­ploy­ment rate rose to 12.2 per­cent as of mid-June, ac­cord­ing to re­cent fig­ures, in a blow to govern­ment ef­forts to show eco­nomic progress ahead of elec­tions next year. The rate from March 20 to June 20 was up 1.4 points from 10.8 per­cent the same time last year, a re­port by the Sta­tis­ti­cal Cen­tre of Iran said. Ex­perts say the real num­ber of job­less among the coun­try’s 25.7 mil­lion-strong work­force could be more than six mil­lion, as the re­port counted any­one over the age of 10 who had worked for an hour or more in the week prior to the study as “in work”.

Poor eco­nomic data is likely to be seized upon by hard­lin­ers op­posed to Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani, whose govern­ment signed a his­toric deal in Jan­uary to end in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions in ex­change for curbs to Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram. Rouhani, who touted the eco­nomic ben­e­fits of an end to sanc­tions to win do­mes­tic sup­port for the deal, faces a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion next May.

Since com­ing to of­fice in mid-2013, his govern­ment has slashed in­fla­tion from more than 40 per­cent in 2012 to a more man­age­able 8.3 per­cent, with 4.4 per­cent eco­nomic growth.

But his hopes the deal would quickly cre­ate thou­sands of jobs have so far gone un­re­al­ized. For­eign busi­nesses in­clud­ing Royal Dutch Shell and the mak­ers of Citroen cars have rushed to in­vest in Iran. But re­main­ing US sanc­tions mean in­ter­na­tional banks are still wary of do­ing business in the Is­lamic Repub­lic-mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for firms to fi­nance ma­jor projects. —AFP

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