Unemployment among Palestinians reachs 26%, 2015


The unemployment rate among Palestinians in the labour force aged 15 years-old and above in Palestine was 26% in 2015 (about 336.000 people), according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statists (PCBS).

On the occasion of International Labour Day, May 1st, PCBS presented the current status of Palestinian labour force during 2015, stating that the unemployment rate among Palestinians in the labour force aged 15 years and above was “23% for males and 39% for females.”

PCBS estimates some 336,000 are unemployed in the occupied West Bank, while 193,000 are currently unemployed in the Gaza Strip.

PCBS added that, “The number of wage employees in Palestine amounted to 659.000, of whom 338.000 employed in the West Bank and 216.000 employed in Gaza Strip; while 83.000 employed in Israel and 22.000 employed in Israeli settlement.”

“Services sector in the private sector recorded the highest average daily real wage at 93 NIS in the [occupied] West Bank and 76 NIS in Gaza Strip, followed by construction sector with 83 NIS in the [occupied] West Bank and 40 NIS in Gaza Strip.

The agriculture sector recorded the lowest average daily wage at 62 NIS in the [occupied] West Bank and 24 NIS in Gaza Strip.”

Palestinian workers in Hebron were particularly vulnerable to earning less than minimum wage, where the average monthly salary was 986 shekels ($263.75), compared to the minimum of 1,450 shekels ($387.85).
In the Gaza Strip, workers fared even worse, with an average monthly wage of 733 shekels ($196), as 67% of the workforce there earns less than minimum wage.

Furthermore, the majority of workers in the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip work without benefits:

  • only 21% of wage employees received retirement or end of service benefits;
  • while 22% received paid annual leave;
  • 23% received paid annual sick leave;
  • and 35% of female wage employees received paid maternity leave.

Last year, there were as many as 112,300 Palestinians employed in Israel and Israel’s illegal settlements — about 12% of the Palestinian workforce — according to the PCBS.

However, because Israel sets a tight quota for the number of Palestinians issued work permits, thousands are forced to enter Israel without a proper work permit, seeking work with exploitative employers.

PCBS also estimates that in 2015 there were as many as 36,400 illegal Palestinian workers, although most of these were employed in illegal Israeli settlements.