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Hundreds Of Thousands Of Iraqis Secure Jobs From Ministry

BAGHDAD -- Iraq's Labor and Social Affairs Ministry says it has found jobs for some 650,000 people in recent months.

Deputy Labor Minister Nuri al-Hilfi told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq that some 1.3 million people have registered with the ministry seeking jobs.

He says that number does not reflect the country’s total number of unemployed, which he estimates to be much higher.

The Central Bureau of Statistics put unemployment at 15 percent in 2008, a 3 percent drop from the previous year.

Most of the jobs found for Iraqis by the ministry have included vocational training and the disbursement of small loans so that people could start small businesses.