Statistical update on Arab States and Territories and North African Countries

The findings show these economies are characterized by high unemployment rates, with significant variations within countries by sex, age and education.

Presentation | 02 June 2011

The global economic crisis has not produced a large negative impact or significant change in trend in most of the analyzed indicators. In fact, most of the countries have experienced economic and employment growth in the last two years.

Average aggregate unemployment rates exceed 9 percent in eight out of eleven countries of the region with available data for 2009/2010. Although women’s labour force participation rates are substantially lower than those for men (e.g., on average two out of five women participate in the labour force, compared to four out of five men), women’s unemployment rates are significantly higher in most of the countries, in some cases up to three times as high.

The region reports some of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. In many of the countries, youth unemployment rates are at least double the total rates (between two and four out of ten people aged 15 to 25 are unemployed).

Employment by sector varies by country. Some gulf oil exporter countries have a small primary sector and a relatively large public administration sector, while in North African countries the situation is reversed.

Unemployment is relatively higher for those with medium and advanced levels of education (or high skilled). Thus, the share of high-skilled unemployment in total unemployment is higher, on average, than the share of high-skilled economically active population (EAP) in total EAP.