Labour market: shortcomings that widen the inequality gap

In its new policy paper entitled: “The labour market in Morocco: structural challenges and avenues for reform to reduce inequalities”, Oxfam Morocco points to the problem of inequalities which reinforces an already worrying reality of the Moroccan labour market characterised by a high degree of precariousness, linked to the preponderance of informality.

The document reveals that “informal employment is concentrated in the most precarious sectors: trade (53%), in particular street and itinerant micro-trade, within the framework of self-employment (itinerant merchants and others)”, the report states. This sector includes young people, migrants, women, children and school dropouts.

In detail, Oxfam reports that “urban youth suffer massive unemployment despite the gradual increase in schooling”. It even adds that among 15-24 year olds, “the unemployment rate concerns nearly one in four young people (24% in 2019) and has been on an upward trend in recent years”. Indeed, people in this age group living in the city are affected by an unemployment rate between 3 and 4 times higher than the Moroccan population (38% in 2019 and up to 42% in 2017).

Unemployment among 25-34 year olds is also higher than that of the rest of the population, affecting around 15% of the active population in this age group. “
Among 25-34 year olds in urban areas, nearly one in five is affected by unemployment,” says Oxfam.

For Hiba El Khamal, head of the Economic and Environmental Justice programme: “the immediate impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the Moroccan labour market has reinforced its pre-existing weaknesses. The destruction of jobs, as well as the jobs that have not been created, contribute to the increase in the already massive inactivity and unemployment. As a result, the living conditions of many Moroccans are expected to deteriorate. According to the latest World Bank estimates, the poverty rate would have increased by 1.3 points during the Covid-19 crisis, rising from 5.8% of the population in 2019 to 7.1% in 2020. In concrete terms, this would mean that almost 470,000 Moroccans would have become poor in 2020.

The report on “The Labour Market in Morocco: Structural Challenges and Reform Paths to Reduce Inequality” states that job creation is insufficient to absorb the increase in the working age population.

The Moroccan population grew by 7.7 million people between 2000 and 2020, an average annual increase of 383,400 people. The working age population grew by about 7.5 million people, corresponding to an average increase of about 370,000 people.

As a result, an average of about 186,000 people have been added to the inactive group each year over the last two decades. In other words, the Moroccan labour market should have created, on average, about 280,000 jobs per year. However, only 90,000 have been created, leading to an ever-increasing share of the population being inactive. Women are still over-represented in sectors where employment is precarious and working conditions more difficult: agriculture, domestic work, textiles and clothing and the informal economy in general. 

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