Morocco's Q2 unemployment rate higher despite job creation

RABAT, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Despite an overall increase in job creation, Morocco’s official unemployment rate slightly rose to 9.3 percent in the second quarter from 9.1 percent during the same period last year, the planning agency said on Saturday, citing an increase in the active population by 107,000 people.

Services and construction created 19,000 and 7,000 jobs respectively, according to Saturday’s report. Manufacturing lost 4,000 jobs.

Heavy rainfall contributed to a favourable harvest, resulting in 52,000 new jobs in agriculture, which accounts for some 15 percent of Morocco’s gross domestic product and employs more than half its workforce.

Informal labour abounds in Morocco, making it hard to produce reliable employment figures.

Last year, along with the rest of North Africa, the country suffered its worst drought in 30 years, and its cereal harvest declined by more than 70 percent. This year’s cereal harvest saw a 203 percent increase over last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

The finance ministry has revised up its growth forecast for the year from 4.5 percent to 4.8 percent, as agriculture recovers from the drought. The economy grew by 1.6 percent in 2016.

Reporting by Samia Errazzouki; Editing by Aidan Lewis