May 14, 2020 / 2:23 PM / 15 days ago

UPDATE 1-Egypt's unemployment falls in 1st quarter - agency

(Adds details, background)

CAIRO, May 14 (Reuters) - Egypt’s unemployment rate declined to 7.7% in the January to March quarter from 8.1% a year earlier, the state statistics agency CAPMAS said on Thursday.

But the rate had risen to 9.2% by the end of April - up from 7.5% in the second quarter of 2019 - as the coronavirus pandemic hurt the economy, the agency said in a report.

CAPMAS said it stopped collecting field data for the first quarter in mid-March, before the government began taking coronavirus mitigation measures that slowed the economy.

The government has closed down schools, cafes, air travel and hotels and put an overnight curfew into place to limit the spread of the virus. It has also banned gatherings in mosques and churches.

The workforce rose to 29.01 million during the quarter, of whom 16.45 million worked in the countryside, from 28.85 million in January to March 2019, CAPMAS said. (Reporting by Ehab Farouk and Nadine Awadalla; Writing by Patrick Werr and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alison Williams and Jan Harvey)

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