Iran's unemployment rate dropped to 10.3% in the 2007-2008 Iranian year from 11.3% the previous year, Iran’s state radio said citing a senior government official.
Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Mohammad Jahromi said improvements in the housing, industry and mining sectors helped cut the jobless rate to around 10% despite the increase in the country's active population.
The jobless rate had been as high as 14-15% in previous years, he added.
Every percentage point drop in the jobless rate would imply the creation of around 245,000 new jobs in view of an active work force of 24.5 million people, the minister noted.
Jahromi said the government aimed to cut the jobless rate further to around 8.4% by 2010, when the current five-year social and economic development plan has completed its cycle.
Iran has reaped windfall gains in recent years from the high oil price and its economy has grown by about 6% annually, despite US pressures and UN Security Council sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear progress.
[In separate reports, some economists have said the unemployment rate is higher than the official figure, estimating it at 25% in some parts of the country.]
Fars News Agency, Iran, March 31, 2008