After a decade of economic and political shocks, the newly available Sudan Labor Market Panel Survey of 2022 provides the first data on households and the labour market for over a decade. This column presents some of its key findings. The country continues to grapple with long-run labour market challenges, such as a high fertility rate, low school enrolment and limited labour force participation among women. After years of political turmoil, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic and recent internal conflict, it is vital that Sudanese policy-makers are able to make evidence-based decisions to help the country to prosper.
With Sudan experiencing numerous economic and political shocks over the past decade, a lack of labour market and household data has made it difficult for policy-makers to make evidence-based decisions. This column presents new nationally representative survey data, which have been long anticipated and are now publicly available: the Sudan Labor Market Panel Survey 2022.
In Egypt today, the labour market has become increasingly inhospitable for women, with the decline in public sector jobs in recent decades. But this column highlights a potential cause for optimism. Female jobs in ICT are on the rise, having grown at a compound rate of 6.4% per year, compared with a decline of 1% per year for non-ICT jobs. To make the most of this promising trend, Egyptian policy-makers should aim to foster an attractive investment climate for international firms, with a focus on building up ICT training and offering more remote working opportunities.
Although unemployment rates have been falling in Egypt in recent years, this trend is likely to reverse in the next five to ten years as the ‘echo’ generation comes of age and starts entering the labour market and substantially increasing labour supply. This column, originally published at Open Access Government, explores the upcoming resumption of demographic pressures on the Egyptian labour market and what can be done about it.
At the onset of the pandemic, employment rates contracted sharply in North African countries. As the column explains, employment rates have generally recovered since then, but hours of work and incomes have not. Informal wage workers, farmers and the self-employed have faced a particularly hard struggle. In anticipation of future crises, the region requires a robust and shock-responsive social protection system.
While employment rates in countries in the Middle East and North Africa have largely recovered since the initial shock of the pandemic, wages and hours of work have been more variable in response to changing economic conditions. As research reported in this column shows, non-wage and informal wage workers have been particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of Covid-19.
Employment is recovering but income losses persist in MENA countries in the second year of the pandemic. Two recent ERF policy briefs summarised in this column illustrate the mix of recovery and ongoing challenges for households and firms.
The past decade has presented both new challenges and new opportunities for the Egyptian labour market. This column outlines the findings of a new book focused on the extent to which the country has been able to create good jobs for its growing population, as well as particular issues facing women and vulnerable groups in the world of work. The analysis draws on data from the latest Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey, conducted in 2018.
A new report examines the type and quality of jobs created in Algeria, Egypt, Sudan and Tunisia, and how they relate to patterns of economic growth. As this column explains, the history of dependence on oil and other resources as the engines of growth in these economies has meant a large flow of rents into government coffers, which has enabled an outsized but unsustainable role for the public sector as an employer.
How are labour markets in the Middle East and North Africa performing a year into the pandemic? This column assesses the impact of the crisis on employment and earnings using data from the second wave of the ERF Covid-19 MENA monitor surveys in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. There are glimmers of progress but persistent problems in these four countries’ labour markets.
How is the Covid-19 crisis affecting jobs and business in the MENA region? This column reports evidence from mobile phone surveys carried out in November in Morocco and Tunisia. The results, reported in a new ERF Policy Brief, indicate that vulnerable workers, small entrepreneurs and farmers have borne the brunt of the pandemic.
The tough response by Jordan’s government to the global pandemic has protected public health but exacted a sharp economic toll in a country that was already struggling to cope with high youth unemployment and a huge influx of refugees from Syria. This column calls for an urgent international effort to assist the Jordanian government in ensuring a dignified future for vulnerable young people and refugees.
The more rapid growth of employment in small and medium-sized businesses compared with both micro enterprises and large firms in the Egyptian private sector presages the re-emergence of the ‘missing middle’. This column explains why this is a positive phenomenon that needs to be promoted and reinforced.
An ERF policy conference on the Egyptian labour market in late October 2019 focused on gender and economic vulnerability. This column summarises the key takeaways from the event.
Growth in Egypt has recovered substantially since the downturn following the global financial crisis and the political instability following the 2011 revolution – but what has happened to jobs? This column reports the results on employment conditions from just released data in the 2018 wave of the Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey.
Unemployment in Tunisia has been high for many years – and it is particularly prevalent among youth, women and people with higher levels of education. This column outlines the findings of a new book on the country’s labour market and the implications for policy-makers.
Since 2011, Jordan has been buffeted by powerful external forces related to the political situation in neighbouring countries, not least the arrival of almost 1.3 million refugees from the conflict in Syria. This columns outlines research presented in Amman in May 2018 on the impact of the Syrian refugee influx on the employment, education, housing and demographic outcomes for Jordanians.
A young person’s first job has a huge impact on the rest of their working life. Today, Egyptian youth face big challenges in securing that first position. This column explains why active labour market policies are unlikely to help with the initial transition into employment. Instead, policy-makers in Egypt should focus on improving the investment climate for small firms, and creating safe and accessible jobs for young women.
Policy discussions about the health of Egypt’s labour market focus almost exclusively on one indicator: the unemployment rate. This column argues that the unemployment rate is a poor indicator of the cyclical performance of the economy. What’s more, it focuses attention on the plight of a very specific group of people, who are not the most vulnerable to poor labour market conditions.