Youth Vulnerability in Egypt and Jordan: Dimensions and Determinants
Shireen AlAzzawi and Vladimir Hlasny
Youth unemployment in the MENA region is the highest in the world, at over 40% for males and close to 60% for females. These high levels of unemployment force the most vulnerable of these youth to accept jobs in the informal sector that are insecure and often unsafe. Understanding youth outcomes in the labor market thus requires a broader focus that encompasses a study of not only unemployment and self-employment, but also the availability of decent work. In this study we analyze the static and dynamic nature of vulnerable employment in Egypt and Jordan using recent Labor Market Panel Surveys. We define vulnerable employment as the total of self-employment, unpaid family workers, irregular wage workers and informal private sector workers. We use transition matrices and multinomial logistic regressions to examine workers’ labor marker outcomes, and the interactions of their employment vulnerability with other measures of welfare and deprivation, and family socio-economic status. Beside static analysis of youth workers’ status, we study dynamically workers’ employment growth later in life. Our results show growing trends of vulnerable employment over time in both countries, more so for youth than for older cohorts. Once a young worker starts out in a vulnerable job, she is very unlikely to exit to a better job later on.