March 2, 2009 / 8:39 AM / 11 years ago

Libya's jobless rate at 20.7 percent: report

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - OPEC member Libya’s unemployment rate is 20.74 percent, a leading local daily reported on Sunday, quoting the government’s latest census figures.

That would give Libya the highest jobless rate in the five-country Maghreb region of 80 million people, where the proportions of workers without jobs in the four other states range from around 9 to 15 percent, according to official figures.

“Libyans with jobs numbered 1.3 million, which represent 79.26 percent of the whole workforce. This means that the jobless rate in Libya is around 20.74 percent,” Oea newspaper said.

Oea is widely seen as the most influential newspaper in Libya because of its close links to Saif al Islam, a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who wields huge sway over the country’s domestic and foreign policy-making.

“Unemployment among men is 21.55 percent and at 18.71 percent among women,” Oea said, without giving an explanation.

The percentage of school girls going on to university degree level reached 12.88 percent, compared with 10.37 percent for boys, the census showed.

“Libyan boys drop out of school more often than girls,” Oea wrote.

More than 16 percent of the country’s total 886,978 families have none its members earning a stable income, while 43.3 percent of the households have just one, it added.

About 26 percent of families have two members bringing home a salary, it said, adding that the average family size was 6.95 members.

More than 33,000 families live in unhealthy housing conditions, including some city slum shacks, it added.

The report, highlighting social differences in Libya, comes before a two-day meeting of the country’s top legislative and executive body, the General People Congress, which begins late on Sunday.

The Congress is widely expected to endorse a Gaddafi plan to distribute more than $30 billion oil money this year directly to the 5 million Libyans in a bid to lift a million out of poverty.

Gaddafi blames widespread corruption in government for the wealth gap between rich and poor in the country.

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