November 6, 2019 / 8:48 PM / a month ago

Morocco's unemployment rate up slightly at 9.4% in Q3 -Planning Agency

RABAT, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Morocco’s unemployment rate was 9.4% at the end of September, up slightly from 9.3% a year earlier, the planning agency said on Wednesday, as heavy job losses in rural areas continued to be offset by gains in urban centres.

Cities created 262,000 jobs, while rural areas shed 119,000 because of lower agricultural activity.

Farm income hinges on volatile rainfall levels in the semi-arid North African country, pushing more rural people to seek work in towns and cities.

Job losses on farms were outweighed by new work in services.

The unemployment rate was 26% among youth aged 15 to 24 and 13% among women, while 15.5% of college and university graduates were unemployed, compared with 3% of people without degrees.

The rate of underemployment dropped to 9.1% from the 9.6% registered in September 2018. Informal labour abounds in Morocco, making it hard to produce reliable employment figures.

The planning agency and the International Monetary Fund expect Morocco’s economic growth to slow to 2.7% in 2019 from 3% in 2018. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Angus McDowall and Peter Cooney)

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