November 3, 2011 / 5:45 PM / in 6 years

Morocco's jobless rate rises for 2nd straight qtr

RABAT, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Unemployment in Morocco inched up 9.1 percent in the third quarter, clocking the second increase in a row due mostly to a drop in construction activity, official data showed.

The jobless rate stood at 8.7 percent a quarter earlier and at 9 percent in the third quarter of 2010, the state’s High Planning Commission (HCP) said on Thursday.

Unemployment in urban areas showed unemployment declined to 13.5 percent in the third quarter from 13.8 percent a year earlier. Half of Morocco’s employed are in rural areas where the majority tend small subsistence farms.

The jobless rate among those below the age of 34 rose to 31.4 percent from 30.1 percent in the third quarter of 2010.

“Two out of three (jobless Moroccans) have been without work for over a year, the same proportion as in the third quarter of 2010. But the percentage of those who have been looking for a job for at least five years rose from 21.1 percent to 25 percent,” HCP said.

Net job creation by the $95 billion economy stood at 120,000 in the 12 months till end-September mostly in retail and industry branches in urban areas. Construction meanwhile recorded a marginal but second straight quarterly drop for the 1-million-employee sector.

Agriculture is Morocco’s top employer with around 40 percent the total workforce while 450,000 is in tourism. (Reporting By Souhail Karam)

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