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.