Gaza’s unemployment rate climbs to 42.7%

Only 3.8% of the workers are employed in the construction sector. Photo by Eman Mohammed.

Only 3.8% of the workers are employed in the construction sector. Photo by Eman Mohammed.

November 12, 2015. A report issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics indicates that Gaza’s unemployment rate went up to 42.7% (201,900 individuals) in the third quarter of 2015, compared to 41.5% in the previous quarter. Unemployment in the West Bank is at 18.7%.

The unemployment rate among women is 63.3%, while for men it is 37.4%. However, the overall percentage of those who form part of the workforce is only 45.3%, some 472,500 people. The percentage of women who take part in the workforce is 18.8% of the total female population (about 97,000 individuals), compared to 71.2% of men (375,500 individuals).

Unemployment among young people in Gaza (ages 15 to 29) stands at 59.7%, compared to 58% in the second quarter of 2015. The unemployment rate among young women participating in the workforce is 82.6%; among young men, it is 52.8%.

Of the people who do work in Gaza, 77.3% are salaried employees and 14.4% are self-employed. Only 3.8% are business owners, and 4.5% work for a family business without pay.

Gaza’s service sector accounts for 55.7% of Gaza’s workers. The trade, restaurant and hotel sectors employ 20.7% of the workers. Though the mechanism for coordinating entrance of construction materials into Gaza has been active for more than a year, and despite the immense need for new housing, only 3.8% of Gaza’s employees work in the construction sector. In fact, this represents a drop compared to the previous quarter, in which the sector employed 4.2%. For a broader perspective – in the first quarter of 2013, when Gaza’s construction sector was at a relative peak, it employed 6.9% of local workers. Fishing and agriculture provide work for 5.2% of all workers.