Youth Employment in the MENA Region: A Situational Assessment

This paper investigates the youth labor market in the MENA region in order to identify factors contributing to the persistently high rates of unemployment and joblessness among MENA youth. The paper undertakes three parallel lines of inquiry. First, the paper reviews characteristics and trends related to the youth labor market. Second, it reviews findings from the research literature in order to identify determinates of labor market outcomes for youth. Third, it surveys data from Egypt and Morocco to address additional questions about the youth employment situation. This paper suggests that several regional factors may be contributing to the high rates of unemployment and joblessness among MENA youth: strong labor supply pressures, rising female labor force participation rates, and labor market rigidities that may be interacting with these two factors.