Iran’s Labour Minister is sounding an alarm about the rising rate of unemployment, warning that if the current trend continues, the country could have 10 million unemployed workers within seven years.

The Mehr News Agency reports that Minister Ali Rabii addressed a special meeting of the parliamentary commission on Tuesday September 8, singling out unemployment as the most challenging domestic issue facing the administration today.

He stressed that failing to address the issue now would let the problem spiral out of control in the near future.

Iran has been facing a shrinking economy, and the government announced only recently that the country has exited recession and the economy has grown by half a percent, although that assertion has not yet been confirmed by the Central Bank or the National Statistics Bureau.

Last month, the Mehr News Agency published a report quoting the head of Parliament saying: “Any house you visit, you find someone unemployed.”

The report adds that in recent years, government officials have used all of their public appearances to promise that unemployment would be reduced. However, not only has unemployment not been uprooted, the report notes, youth unemployment has doubled while unemployment among women has reached 50 percent.

According to the Mehr report, there are 2.5 million “absolutely unemployed individuals” in the country and almost half of them are university graduates.