By Abdel Razek Al-Shuwekhi
The unemployment rate registered 13.4% in the first quarter (Q1) of 2014 compared to 13.2% in the same period last year, marking a 0.2% year on year increase, the Central Agency for Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) reported on Wednesday.
However, Egypt’s workforce in Q1 grew by 0.9% from Q4 2013 to record 27.6 million. The number of unemployed individuals reached 3.7 million in Q1 compared to 2.4 million in Q1 2010.
CAPMAS attributed the increase to a “deceleration in labour-intensive economic sectors”, including the industrial, tourism and construction sectors.
The tourism sector, which employs 3.5 million workers, witnessed a slump in Q1 2014 as tourism revenues decreased by 43% year on year, recording $1.3bn.
Meanwhile, the price of construction materials has also increased. Cement prices reached EGP 850 per tonne in March compared to EGP 520 in February, which consequently led to a deceleration in building processes, according to official reports.
Former leader of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) Abdel Rahman Kheir stated that unemployment rates have increased due to the suspension of operations at more than 4,500 factories.
The labour makeup was dominated by males, who recorded 19.1 million workers in Q1 2014 with a 0.4% quarter on quarter increase. However, the female workforce registered 4.8 million workers in Q1 2014 with a 2.8% quarter on quarter increase.