Iran unemployment hit 12.2% in June
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