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Official Survey Says Unemployment in West Bank, Gaza Rises 25%

Official Survey Says Unemployment in West Bank, Gaza Rises 25%

Friday, 14 February, 2020 - 10:45
Palestinian laborers work at Aluminum Construction, a factory located in the Industrial Park of the West Bank Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem, February 3, 2016. (Reuters)

Unemployment in the Palestinian labor force rose 25 percent in 2019, revealed an official report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.

The number of unemployed was 343,800 in 2019, with 215,100 in the Gaza Strip and 128,700 in the West Bank. The unemployment rate in Gaza reached 45% compared to 15% in the West Bank, while unemployment among males was 21% compared to 41% for females.

Total labor under-utilization stood at 487,400 people, including 73,100 discouraged jobseekers and 20,500 in time-related underemployment.

The Bethlehem governorate in the West Bank and Deir al-Balah governorate in the Gaza Strip registered the highest unemployment rate in 2019.

The Bethlehem governorate recorded the highest unemployment rate in the West Bank, at about 23%. It was followed by Jenin, at 22%. The Jerusalem and Qalqiliya governorates registered the lowest rates at 7% for each.

In the Gaza Strip, the Deir al-Balah governorate registered the highest unemployment rate, at about 52%, followed by Khan Yunis at 49%. The lowest rate was registered in the Gaza governorate at about 41%.

Moreover, the Bureau found a large gap in the labor force participation rate between genders, whereby 7 out of 10 of males are employed, compared to 2 out of 10 of females. It added that 19% of women in Gaza were employed, as opposed to 17% percent in the West Bank.

Around 61,000 people entered the labor force in 2019 with some 32,000 in the West Bank and 29,000 in the Gaza Strip, said the Bureau, noting an increase in the number of employed in the local market between 2018 and 2019

The number of employed in Israel and Israeli settlements stood at around 133,000 in 2019, with 71% working with a permit and 20% without one, while Israeli ID or foreign passport holders reached 9%.

The number of employed in Israeli settlements was 23,000 in 2019 compared with 22,000 in 2018, with the majority working in the construction sector.

The Bureau also noted a high percentage of child labor in the West Bank compared to the Gaza Strip. It said 3% of children between the ages of 10 and 17 were employed.

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