By Alireza Ramezani for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
Reza holds a degree in management but has since his graduation in 2011 failed to find a steady job. The 31-year-old, who lives in Tehran, has been driving the family’s car as an unlicensed cab to make ends meet.
Recently, he came up with the idea of borrowing some money to buy an official taxi vehicle, but at the last minute realized that he had to be married to be eligible to become a cab driver. “In my struggle to have a reliable source of income, I even thought of marriage. But I thought to myself that my situation could even get worse, so I gave up the idea of having a taxi,” Reza told Al-Monitor on condition his surname not be published. “I just wish there is a way out. I’m so desperate for a proper job.”
The operation of private vehicles as unlicensed cabs has become a career for many in overcrowded Tehran over the last decade, including retirees who look for extra income and young people who can’t find permanent jobs. “I know many people who are in the same situation as I am,” Reza said.
Unemployment among Iranians ages 15-29 stood at 26.7% in summer 2016, Tasnim news agency reported Dec. 27, citing official data. The jobless rate stood at 30.2% for those ages 15-24.
The administration of President Hassan Rouhani managed to create 630,000 new jobs in the Iranian fiscal year that ended March 20. Yet these efforts are clearly insufficient as joblessness hit 12.4% in the same year, 1.9 percentage points higher than three years ago, according to the latest data released by the Statistical Center of Iran.
Officials argue that the hike in unemployment is due to a rising demand for jobs. The population boom of the 1980s — 21 million babies were born between 1980 and 1988 — has now created a need for the government to generate more jobs — an expensive endeavor that requires huge investment.