(Adds finance minister comments)
CAIRO, May 15 (Reuters) - Egypt’s unemployment rate dipped to 12 percent in the first quarter of 2017 from 12.4 percent the previous quarter, state statistics agency CAPMAS said on Monday.
Egypt has been struggling to restore economic growth since a political uprising in 2011. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pledged to reduce joblessness to 10 percent over the next few years, a target that will require higher levels of economic growth.
The country’s labour force grew by 71,000 people in the first quarter to reach 29.15 million people, the agency said. That is less than a third of the North African country’s more than 92 million people.
Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said he expects the rate to drop to about 11.7-11.8 percent by the end of the financial year in June.
“The unemployment rate has been declining for a while as a result of more job opportunities being created through national projects being implemented,” Garhy told Reuters by telephone.
The total number of unemployed during the quarter stood at 3.5 million people, the CAPMAS report said.
Young people remain disproportionately impacted by the jobs shortage, with Monday’s data showing 79 percent of those unemployed aged between 15 and 29. (Reporting by Ehab Farouk and Eric Knecht; Editing by Toby Chopra and Hugh Lawson)