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Rise in Gaza's unemployment rate spikes during coronavirus

Gaza’s unemployment rate rises as 26,500 people lose jobs even before coronavirus pandemic
2 min read
13 June, 2020
Gaza's ecomomy is suffering as unemployment levels increased in the first quarter of 2020.
Unemployment rates are high [Getty]
Unemployment rates in Gaza have been increasing, and the region experienced a sudden spike due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the quarterly unemployment report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

The report, which covers January to March 2020, shows a sharp deterioration of employment in the region, which has only gotten worse during Covid-19 measures, which has shuttered workplaces and public spaces – places where people work.

The first quarter of 2020 found Gaza’s unemployment rate increased to 45.5 per cent, up from 42.9 per cent in the last quarter of 2019, and 45.1 per cent in 2019 overall.

In damning figures, 26,500 people in Gaza lost their jobs in the first three months of 2020, and in a population of two million, such numbers are high.

Public sector employees, who account for 35.8 per cent of all employed workers in the strip have received reduced salaries for months – and in some cases years.

In the first quarter of 2020, public sector employees earned approximately 75 ILS per day on average (less than $28 per day), and the average daily wage for Gaza’s private sector workers was just 32.7 ILS (less than $10 per day).

The vast majority of Gazan workers, 80 per cent, earn less than minimum wage (approximately $420 per month).

Unemployment rates among women in the first quarter spiked to 62.1 per cent, compared to 57.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2019.

The unemployment rate among men rose from 38.5 per cent in the previous quarter to 40.4 per cent.

Unemployment among young people (15-29 years old) reached 64.2 per cent, a nearly three percent increase from the last quarter of 2019.

Israel’s ongoing blockade of Gaza, its strict restriction of movement of people and goods in the strip and the area’s disadvantages due to limited resources and poor infrastructure means that such unemployment rates come as little surprise.

With the outbreak of coronavirus across the world, thousands of people in Gaza have lost their jobs, according to Gisha, the Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement.

Those who worked in the hotel, tourism and restaurant industry were particularly hard hit, as well as workers in factories and some 6,000 people who had valid trader permits.

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