Is the Egyptian labor market post-revolution in a weaker position?

Egypt’s young people have enormous potential to drive the economic and social revitalization of their country, yet this critical sector of the population represents the vast majority of Egypt’s unemployed and underemployed.  Overall unemployment reached 13% in the fourth quarter of 2012 (CAPMAS 2012); in which youth market labor force (ages 15-24) grew 3.1% per year 1998-2006, whereas it  contracted to 4.2% in 2006-2012.

The second session in the ERF Conference on “The Egyptian Labor Market in a Revolutionary Era: Results from the 2012 Survey” focused on the main labor markets trends in Egypt. Two papers were presented in which they complement each other; Dr. Ragui Assaad presented the first paper “The evolution of labor supply and unemployment in the Egyptian Economy: 1998 – 2012“.

This paper analyzes the evolution of labor supply and unemployment in Egypt in the period from 1999 to 2012, focusing on the impact of the demographic phenomenon known as the youth bulge and the impact of the world financial crisis and the marked economic slowdown following the January 25th 2011 revolution.  It was found that the female share of the unemployed has increased from 54% in 1998 to 63% in 2012 despite the fact that they are only 23% of the labor force

Caroline Krafft presented the second paper “The structure and evolution of employment in Egypt: 1998 – 2012“. The paper conducts a detailed analysis of the evolution of the employment over the period from 1998 to 2012, stressing on the impact of the economic crisis accompanying the January 25th 2011 revolution. Caroline examines the key trends in job creation, employment status, sector, industry, and occupation.

To sum up this session; the deterioration in labor market conditions has occurred despite demographic and educational trends that should have resulted in lower unemployment and increased female labor force participation. The revolution has exacerbated public/private disparities; while public sector workers are reporting improvements in working conditions, private sector workers have experienced substantially worse conditions, including falling sales, decreased job security, decreases in hours, and decreasing wages. The authors recommend to focus on those who are employed, but in precarious employment conditions in the private sector, in crafting responses to the economic crisis.


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