Iran's protracted and intractable unemployment crisis may be traced to several separate factors. The increased unemployment caused by the 1980s population bulge has, in turn, been exacerbated by an enormous labor surplus in rural areas, as well as the unprecedented influx of more than 2.5mn refugees and workers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and other neighboring countries. Concerted government measures to put people to work-vocational training, establishment of an information data base, tax holidays, subsidized credits, and direct budgetary support to high unemployment sectors and depressed areas-have so far produced scant results. The large number of unemployed college graduates classified as 'unskilled' suggests that their formal training is not suitable for the market place's requirements. Economic costs of unemployment as a drag on the economy are highly transparent and calculable. Labor is the most perishable of all productive factors, and a non-retrievable asset when lost. A shortage of adequate jobs is also an alarming threat to political stability.