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Egypt sees slight decline in unemployment rate in third quarter of 2009.

CAIRO: The unemployment rate in Egypt declined to 9.26 percent in the third quarter of 2009, from 9.42 percent in the second quarter, with the labor force rising to 25.2 million, according to state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, which cited a CAPMAS report.

"It is definitely good that there is a decline, however the unemployment rate is still higher than last year when, for example, it was 8.4 percent in the second quarter of 2008 after which it started increasing," said Magdy Sobhy, an economist at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

The number of unemployed individuals declined by 0.4 percent in the third quarter of 2009 in comparison with the second quarter of 2009, while rising by 11.2 percent from the third quarter of 2008, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS)Aa study.

"This scant decline in the unemployment rate is a positive indicator of economic growth and that the recession did not stay long, at least in some industries," said Sobhy.

Last May, Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid suspected that there will be a rise in the unemployment rate.

"At the moment, we are almost at 9 percent [unemployment] -- I can't give you an exact figure, but definitely we are going to see a rise of probably 0.5, 0.6 percent," he had told Reuters at the World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea in Jordan

Egypt's unemployment rate was at 9.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Earlier this month the country said there were some 2.34 million people unemployed out of a workforce of 25 million.

"We are at the moment at 4-1/2 percent [growth] which means that we are creating jobs but we are not creating enough jobs to cater to the 650,000 new applicants every year," he added at the time.

CAPMAS figures had shown unemployment peaking at 11.8 percent in the third quarter of 2005, declining to a low of 8.4 percent in the quarter of 2008 with the rise in economic growth.

According to Beltone Financial, data available until the second quarter of 2009 showed unemployment was declining among males, from a peak of 7.7 percent in first quarter of 2006 to 5.2 percent in the second quarter of 2009, while unemployment in females jumped from a low of 18.3 percent in the third quarter of 2008 to 23.2 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

High unemployment has been a pressure point on the government, especially with the decline in economic growth since the fourth quarter of 2008.

"The only way to decrease unemployment in the country is through investment," said Sobhy. "Since last year foreign investment in Egypt has declined as well as investments from the private sector even though the government tried to make up for that by investing itself, but it wasn't enough," he added.

"The private and public sectors should invest more and we should attract more foreign investment to the country," noted Sobhy.

Daily NewsEgypt 2009

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Publication:Daily News Egypt (Egypt)
Date:Nov 20, 2009
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