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Morocco job market hit by rise in rural unemployment

Unemployment increased from 15.8 percent to 16.8 percent in urban areas of Morocco marketplace Marrakesh Marrakech Pexels/Piotr Arnoldes
Unemployment increased from 15.8 percent to 16.8 percent in urban areas of Morocco
  • Unemployment up by 13%
  • Agriculture and fishing hit hard
  • Construction created 19,000 jobs

Morocco’s unemployment rate increased by 13 percent to nearly 1.6 million last year as the country’s rural areas haemorrhaged jobs.

Between 2022 and 2023, the national economy lost 157,000 jobs, according to the latest figures from the Higher Commission of Planning.

Although urban areas recorded an increase of 41,000 jobs, employment in rural parts of the North African country dropped by 198,000 positions.

The impact was most keenly felt in the agriculture, forest and fishing sector, where 202,000 jobs were lost across the year.

The construction sector created about 19,000 jobs as Morocco built back from the devastating earthquakes that hit the country in September, while the services industry saw the creation of 15,000 posts and “industry including crafts” 7,000.

Total unemployment for the year increased by 138,000, which was made up of 98,000 jobless individuals in Morocco’s urban areas and 40,000 in rural areas.

It remains higher among young people aged 15 to 24 (35.8 percent), graduates (19.7 percent) and women (18.3 percent).

Last year the IMF predicted unemployment in Morocco would reach 12 percent by the end of 2023, before falling to 11.7 percent in 2024, “indicating the potential for improved job prospects in the coming years”.

The latest World Bank report forecast that Morocco’s real GDP growth would be 3.1 percent in 2024, 3.3 percent in 2025 and 3.5 percent in 2026, as domestic demand gradually recovers from recent shocks.

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