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Iran's unemployment rate has dropped to 10.4 percent: official

12/12/04 Tehran, Dec 11, IRNA -- An Iranian official said in Tehran on Saturday that the unemployment rate has dropped form 16 percent to 10.4 percent of labor force during the Third Five-Year Development Plan (March 2000-2005).

In a meeting with a youth employment official, Deputy Labor Minister for Planing and Policy Affairs Mohammad Reza Sepehri said that the government's aim is to in increase private sector participation in job creation, reform pertinent laws and regulations and provide facilities for boosting employment.

About 70 percent of the nation's populations is below 30 years of of age making it essential to implement specially-targeted employment schemes for the youth.

He also said the ministry is delineating employment strategies with ooperation of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

"Raising women's participation in labor force is another challenge for future employment plans," he added.

In the first four years of the Third Five-Year Development Plan 2,280,000 jobs were created, constituting 78.8 percent of the target.

Based the Third Development Plan, on the average over 2,570,000 jobs should have been created in the first four years of the Plan annually.

The figure stood at 383,000 annually on the average in the First Plan (March 1989-1995) and 281,000 in the second Development Plan (March 1995-2000).

Head of Management and Plan Organization (MPO) Hamid Reza Baradaran-Shoraka has said that reducing unemployment rate to 8.4 percent of work force during the fourth development plan needs an eight percent economic growth.

He said 31.3 percent of the targeted economic growth is to be materialized through increases in factor productivity and rise in quantity of production factors.

In the past decade, he said, productivity of factors of production, due to a negative capital productivity, did not have a determining effect on domestic economic growth.

"Hence achieving the development plan's targets, hinges on changing the current strategy with the aim of more efficient use of resources."

He said the development plan also envisions that labor and capital productivity to grow by 3.5 percent and one percent, respectively.

"The corresponding figures in the decade (1991-2001) was 1.3 percent and 3.9 percent for labor or capital productivity," the MPO head underlined.

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