Morocco struggles with growing unemployment

Morocco struggles with growing unemployment
Official statistics show 9.9 percent jobless rate, a rise of 0.7 percentage points in a year, as country struggles to create job to serve expanding population.
2 min read
06 February, 2015
The government said unemployment stood at 1.16 milion [AFP/Getty]

Unemployment in Morocco has risen as Abdelilah Benkirane's government grapples with economic problems compounded by the slowing economies in the EU, its largest economic partner.

According to the High Planning Commission (HPC), the number of unemployed rose by about 86,000 in 2014, bringing the total jobless to 1.16 million.

That figure represents 9.9 percent of the total labour force, up from 9.2 percent in 2013.

The commission said the rate for urban areas was 14.8 percent - up 0.8 percentage points 2013, and 4.2 percent in rural areas - up 0.4 percentage points in a year. One in five university graduates is jobless.

The commission said the rise in unemployment was due to an increase in numbers entering the labour market, which the Moroccan economy had failed to absorb.

     The HPC said the rise was due to an increase in numbers entering the labour market, which the economy had failed to absorb.

Abdul Salam Siddiqi, the minister of employment, expressed the government's desire to develop a strategy aimed at reviving the labour market, and reduce unemployment to eight percent by 2016.

However, he has revealed no details of the revival plan.

The current coalition government has promised to create 200,000 to 350,000 new jobs, and has sought to encourage employment in the private sector with incentives for new companies.

The government had also promised to provide 23,000 state jobs in 2015.

HCP expects the Moroccan economy to create 170,000 jobs in 2015 following the promised economic revival attributed to recent rainfall levels.

It added that an anticipated record grain yield would contribute to raising economic growth to 4.8 percent, compared to 2.6 percent in 2014.

This is an edited translation of the original Arabic.