A street in Gaza. Photo by Asmaa El Khaldi.
A street in Gaza. Photo by Asmaa El Khaldi.

December 4, 2018. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reports that Gaza’s unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2018 reached 54.9%, a one percent increase from the previous quarter, and more than an 8% increase compared to the same quarter last year.  The rate of unemployment among young people (ages 15-29) is 71.1%. During the same quarter last year, the rate was 64.9%.

The unemployment gap between Gaza and the West Bank grew wider during the third quarter: In the West Bank, unemployment dropped from 19.1% in the second quarter to 17.3% in the third.

In Gaza, 53.1% of all employees work in the service and public sectors. There is a shortage of private sector manufacturing and sales jobs, which depend on the ability of business owners to transport goods and travel to and from Gaza in order to network and develop their businesses. Travel restrictions imposed by Israel block this type of development. Self-employed individuals account for 15.9% of Gaza’s workforce.

In the third quarter, the average daily wage in Gaza was 60 ILS (16 USD) per day. The median daily wage was only 39 ILS (10.50 USD). In the private sector, the average daily wage was even less at almost 34 ILS (9.12 USD). Of Gaza’s private sector employees, 83.6% earn below the minimum wage (which is 1,450 ILS (about 390 USD) per month).

Well-being in Gaza depends on job creation. Israel must facilitate access to livelihoods, including lifting the ban on laborers entering for work in Israel; allowing movement of goods into and out of the Strip, including small-scale import and export activity; significantly increasing the fishing zone and allowing safe access to sea and land areas; and removing arbitrary restrictions on travel for professional development and opportunities.