38.4% unemployment in Gaza, 53.4% among young people

Gaza labor force participation rate was 45.7% this quarter. Photo: Karl Schembri

Gaza labor force participation rate was 45.7% this quarter. Photo: Karl Schembri

February 22, 2016. Gaza’s unemployment rate dropped by 4.3% in the last quarter of 2015, reaching 38.4%, compared to 42.7% in the third quarter. According to figures published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, some 184,500 people in the Gaza Strip were tallied as unemployed in the last quarter of 2015, compared to 201,900 in the previous quarter. The unemployment rate in the West Bank did not change in the last quarter of 2015, remaining at 18.7%.

The rate of unemployment in the 15 – 29 age bracket remains at a staggering 53.4%, which is still a slight drop compared to the previous quarter when unemployment among young people stood at 59.7%.

The rate of unemployment among women in the Gaza Strip is higher still: 60.5% (compared to 32.3% among men). The rate of unemployment among young women and girls aged 15-29 was 54.2%, compared to 46.9% among young men.

The rate of people employed in construction in Gaza jumped from 3.8% in the third quarter to 6.6% in the fourth. This increase, 9,000 more jobs, probably accounts, to a great extent, for the decrease in the overall unemployment rate. About 6.4% of salaried employees in Gaza work in farming and fishing and 19.7% in commerce, the food service industry and hospitality.

Gaza’s labor force

The rate of labor force participation in Gaza stood at 45.7% this quarter (about 480,700 people), compared to 46.4% in the West Bank (about 844,300 people). Gaza experienced a slight increase in labor force participation in the last quarter of 2015 compared to the previous quarter (45.3% labor force participation).

Women’s participation in the workforce in the Gaza Strip rose from 18.8% in the third quarter of 2015 to 20% in the fourth quarter, while men’s participation in the workforce went down from 71.2% in the previous quarter to 70.8% in the last quarter of 2015.

The highest unemployment rate recorded in Gaza in this quarter was among the 20-24 age bracket (58.6%). This age group had the highest unemployment rate last quarter as well (66.7%).