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Citizens for Justice and Peace

The Occupied Palestinian Territory has the world’s highest unemployment

20, Jul 2018

According to a report released earlier this year, titled The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories, the unemployment in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) has increased to the highest in the world, at 27.4% in 2017, the International Labour Organization (ILO) reported. The unemployment rates for Palestinian women are nearing 50%, with the unemployment rates for youth also on a similar trajectory. In Gaza, nearly every second worker is unemployed, and nearly two-thirds of the women workers lack jobs. The blockade has significantly obstructed economic activity, and the per capita incomes have declined to below the levels in the early 1990s. In the report’s preface, ILO Director-General Guy Rider writes that “the Palestinian labour market has deteriorated…to lows which should be of deep concern to all involved,” calling job creation in the region “anaemic,” and saying that it is evident “that the absence of opportunity for young people drives them to desperation and radicalization.” Rider notes that workers increasingly prefer employment in Israel with the “wider opening of the Israeli labour market to Palestinians seeking employment is a needed and welcome relief from which the Palestinian worker and the Israeli employer stand to benefit.” However, Rider highlighted that “accessing this labour market continues to be beset with hardship and abuse. Many Palestinians pay exorbitant fees to unscrupulous brokers in order to gain a permit,” he writes. The number of Palestinians employed in Israel’s economy rose in 2017 by over 11% from 2016. The complete report may be read here.

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