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Gaza War Drives Palestinian Unemployment to 79.1%, Sharp GDP Decline, ILO Reports"

Posted On: 08-06-2024 | Human Rights
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The war has caused unprecedented devastation to the Palestinian labor market and the wider economy, according to new data and analysis by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

Eight months of war in the Gaza Strip have caused loss of jobs and livelihoods on a massive scale and a sharp decline in GDP in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), according to a new brief by the ILO and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) reports.

According to the new analysis, the unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip has reached a staggering 79.1 percent Since the Israeli aggression began in October 2023. In the West Bank, which has also been severely impacted by the crisis, unemployment has reached 32 percent.

These figures bring the average rate of unemployment to 50.8 percent across the two areas of the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPT). Unemployment rates and figures, however, do not account for those who have left the labor force altogether as job prospects proved unattainable. The actual number of those who have lost their jobs is therefore even higher than what the unemployment figures suggest.

Additionally, real GDP has contracted by an astounding 83.5 percent in the Gaza Strip and by 22.7 in the West Bank over the past eight months, and the real GDP of the entire OPT has shrunk by an average of 32.8 percent, according to the report.

On Thursday, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Gilbert Houngbo called the situation in Gaza “particularly catastrophic”. He also highlighted the need to prepare for a job-rich restoration of infrastructure and services anchored in a commitment to providing decent work.

Speaking at a Special Sitting on the Situation of Workers of the Occupied Arab Territories (OAT) held at the 112th International Labour Conference (ILC), Houngbo said, “This has been the hardest year for Palestinian workers since 1967. Never before has the situation been this bleak.”

Houngbo further noted that an estimated 200,000 jobs have been lost in Gaza since October 2023, which is the equivalent of more than two-thirds of total employment in the enclave.

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