Iranian experts and media are criticizing claims by President Ebrahim Raisi that the government has created nearly one million new jobs in the past year.
Presenting the budget bill to the parliament last week, Raisi claimed there is proof that his administration has succeeded in creating over 900,000 new jobs as he had promised during his campaign.
“This claim is so strange and far from reality that I prefer not to talk about,” Kamal Athari, development researcher and economist told Bahar News Tuesday, adding that such claims are easy to make in the absence of reliable data. “How is it possible for employment to increase when the rate of economic growth has been declining?” he asked.
He also said it is noteworthy that during Raisi’s presidency even the jobs created before the pandemic and when the nuclear deal with world powers, JCPOA, was in effect were lost and inflation and people’s loss of income is threatening others such as the hospitality sector.
Athari also criticized the government for lack of coordination and an overall disorientation. “They have no plans for dealing with inflationary stagnation in the housing sector but they name housing as the engine of growth,” he said.
The claim was repeated by the Minister of Labor Seyed Sowlat Mortazavi Tuesday. “The government has succeeded in creating one million job in one year as it had promised,” he said.
Khorasan newspaper, which supports the Raisi Administration and is linked to the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, criticized Mortazavi and said the claim was in contradiction with the figures released by the Statistics Center of Iran (SCI) which shows from September 2021 to September 2022 the number of people with employment only rose by 535,000. This meant, Khorasan pointed out, that 465,000 jobs were lost even if one million jobs were created as the government claims.
Figures released by the SCI indicate that over 665,000 new job seekers of fifteen-years-old and above have entered the job market during the same period.
Speaking to Nameh News website Wednesday, Mohammad Mohajeri, a conservative journalist, warned that officials provide “fake statistics” to the president. Their eagerness to create an illusion of “achievements” would have dire consequences for the government, he maintained.
“I don’t know how long this unhelpful attitude of officials has to continue for the government to realize that faking achievements and statistics will cause the downfall of the government,” Mohajeri said, adding that there is also a concern that there may be brave experts in the government whose warnings are being ignored. “This is even a bigger calamity.”
Many on both sides of Iran's political spectrum have criticized Raisi and his government for inefficiency and lack of planning while blaming all shortcomings on previous governments including Raisi’s immediate predecessor Hassan Rouhani.
Rising Inflation and depreciation of the national currency, rial, which have been problems since 2018 when President Donald Trump left the 2015 nuclear deal are now turning into serious crises the government seems unable to address.
The point-to-point inflation rate reported by the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) for the past Iranian month, which ended on January 20, has surpassed 50 percent, with food inflation hitting an average of over 70 percent.
In its latest report the SCI put overall inflation at 51 percent, taking into account 12 groups of goods and services. The highest jump was reported in the hotel and restaurant sector with 78.5 percent, followed by food.