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National survey on employment in Tunisia: 137,000 jobs lost and 213,000 new job seekers

The situation of employment in Tunisia between May 2010 and May 2011 was marked by the loss of 137,000 jobs and the arrival on the labor market of 213,000 new job applicants. The job losses were notably recorded in the sectors of agriculture (64,000 jobs), tourism (16,000), industry and services (57,000).

These figures were made public during a meeting, held on Wednesday, at the National Statistics Institute (INS) to present the key results of the national survey on employment during the second term of 2011.

Director General of Demographic and Social Statistics Habib Fourati said that the loss of jobs in the agricultural sector, especially after the Revolution, is mainly due to the change in mindset in favor of seeking paid jobs.

Besides, the building sector recorded a rise of 3,000 jobs, as a result of proliferation of uncontrolled construction.

At the national level, the number of workers reached 3.139 million, in May 2011, against 3.769 million, during the same period of 2010.

The county numbered in May 2011 about 704,000 unemployed people, against 491,000 for the same period of 2010, i.e., a rise of 213,000. The unemployment rate was estimated at 18.3%, against 13%, in May 2010.

Joblessness amongst the higher-education graduates registered a rise to reach 217,800 in May 2011, against 157,300, in May 2010, i.e., a rate which went up from 22.9% to 29.2%.

At the regional level, the unemployment rate is around 28.6% in the Midwest of the country, 26.9% in the southwest and 24.8% in the southeast, while it stands at 11.1% in the central east and between 17.3% and 17.8% in the northern regions of the country.

These indicators are INS’ first findings after the Revolution made through a national survey conducted among 43,000 families representing all professional and social categories chosen at random and shared out between 1,700 geographical areas nationwide.

The national field survey, which started last April 8 and ended on June 30, 2011, centered around four axes: demographic, educational, economic characteristics, population of workers and jobless and their families and their living conditions.

According to this survey, the Tunisian population stood at 10.651 millions, by mid-May 2011, with an increase of 120,000 compared to May 2010, i.e., a rate of 1.14% and a slight rise in the number of people aged over 60, compared to the previous year.

Regarding marital status, the survey pointed to a decline in celibacy which reached 40.3% of the population over 15 years of age.

Figures also show a continuous improvement in the education level, compared to April 2004. The number of persons having completed primary school fell from 37% to 33%; those who completed secondary school increased from 32% to 36%; and those who graduated from university rose from 9.7% to 12%. Fall of illiteracy continued, reaching 18.6% in May 2011, compared with 20.6% in 2010, 20.6% in 2007 and 23.1% in 2004, while the illiteracy rate in rural areas is still high, particularly among girls of over 10 years of age.

According to the national survey, the labor force was estimated at 3,844,600 workers in May 2011, i.e., an increase by 75,400 active people compared to 2010.

The country had 2,605,000 families, in May 2011, compared with 2,539,000 in May 2010, i.e., a rise of 66,500 families.

Regarding the methodology of the survey, the INS official said that the Institute’s criteria were compliant with international standards.

To a question on the delay in the publication of this report, he answered that recording the collected data takes a whole month, but work was interrupted at the INS during two months, because of the sit-in staged by staff of the Institute.

The meeting coincided with a sit-in staged by contract agents working in the Institute since 2004. Protesters, who are university graduates, are claiming their tenure and payment of their wages suspended since May 2011.

A source from the Institute told TAP that the decision to recruit these contract agents has been signed by the Prime Ministry.


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