The government has said it is not looking for foreign investment, which could be the biggest obstacle to attracting more foreign workers.
But the country has also been in the news for years over the killing of at least 10 people by police officers, and its crackdown on protesters in recent months.
Ethiopia’s labor-force participation rate, or the percentage of people employed, fell to 54.6% in 2017, according to the labor ministry.
In 2016, the rate was 60.9%, according to a Reuters tally.
In the first half of 2017, Ethiopia’s economy grew by 1.2% compared with the same period in 2016, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.1%, according the ministry.
The economy contracted for a fourth consecutive quarter in the second half of last year.
Ethiopias unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world.
Its economy is growing at a faster pace than many other developing countries, including Nigeria and South Africa, which have lower unemployment rates.
But its economy is still smaller than those of other countries like Indonesia and Nigeria.