Gaza’s Unemployment Rate Spikes after Coronavirus Pandemic

Volunteers in Gaza distribute meals during Ramadan. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

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 percent, up from 42.9 percent in the last quarter of 2019, and 45.1 percent 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 percent 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 percent, earn less than minimum wage (approximately $420 per month).

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

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

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

Gaza, with a population of 2 million, has been under a hermetic Israeli siege since 2006, when the Palestinian group Hamas won the democratic legislative elections in occupied Palestine.

Since then, Israel has carried out numerous bombing campaigns and several major wars, that resulted in the death of thousands of people.

(Palestine Chronicle, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Social Media)

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