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Conflicting Reports on Iran's Unemployment Rate

04/07/11 Source: Radio Zamaneh

Iranian experts on employment and the economy are contesting the government's official unemployment rate of 10 percent, saying the rate is actually much higher at 17 to 20 percent.

Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Iran

Khabar-on-line is reporting the claim by 10 economic experts from the Board of Iranian Economic Perspectives, a group of academics and former government officials.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his Norooz message for the Iranian New Year, heralded the creation of more than 1.6 million jobs, which would reduce the 10 percent unemployment rate to 6.14 percent in the spring.

The Iranian Centre for Statistics has remained silent on the subject, and no government statements have been forthcoming.

The dissenting experts who reject the 10 percent unemployment rate describe a critical labour situation with more than four million people out of work. Iran's labour minister has insisted the unemployment rate is 10 percent with about 2.4 million people unemployed across the country.

Pedram Soltani, a member of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, said the job growth is highly unlikely in the sluggish economy.

According to Ali Mousavi, a member of the parliament's social affairs commission, real unemployment is approaching 20 percent, practically double the official version.

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