World Economy

Jordan Jobless Rate Rises 50%

Jordan Jobless Rate Rises 50%Jordan Jobless Rate Rises 50%

The unemployment rate among Jordanians has increased from 14.5 percent prior to the Syrian crisis in 2011 to 22.1 percent at present, according to a recent report by international organizations.

Conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Norway-based FAFO institute, the “Impact of Syrian refugees on the Jordanian labor market” study showed that the employment situation for Jordanians prior to the Syrian crisis was characterized by a labor participation rate of 67 percent among men and about 18 percent among women, Albawaba reported.

However, at present the labor force participation rate for Jordanians is similar to what it was before the Syrian crisis, while the unemployment rate has increased from 14.5 to 22.1 percent.

The rate stands at 42 percent among Jordanian youths and 40 percent among women alone, according to the report. However, these figures are higher than the “official” figures the government announced early this year.

According to the government, unemployment rate in 2014 stood at 11.9 percent, going down by 0.7 percent compared with 2013, when it was 12.6 percent.

Zayyan Zawaneh, an economist, said the ILO study confirms what economists in the country have been talking about since the start of the Syrian crisis and its impact on Jordan’s society and economy.

 “The increase in unemployment rates will affect the country’s social fabric,” he said.

 Syrian Refugees

The pundit noted that the government’s main concern was to call on the international community to support its budget due to the impact of the Syrian crisis without actual work on how to deal on the ground with the influx of Syrians into Jordan.

Now, Jordanians are paying the price of this mismanagement, he said.

As for the participation of Syrians in the Jordanian labour market, report findings showed that “at present, about 51 percent of Syrian men living outside camps participate in the Jordanian labor market”.

Of the 620,000 Syrian refugees registered in Jordan, only 20 percent are in refugee camps, while the rest are in host communities. But according to official statistics, there are more than 1.4 million Syrians in the kingdom and less than half of them are registered with UNHCR. Amman, Irbid and Mafraq governorates alone are hosting more than 76 percent of all the Syrian refugees in Jordan.

For Ahmad Awad, director of Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies, several factors have contributed to this situation.

On top of these is the high number of annual job seekers that currently reaches to 100,000, compared with only from 45,000 to 50,000 job openings.

In addition, Awad said the country’s economy is burdened and most of the industries that highly depend on “oil” witnessed a setback in the past few years, leading to the closure of 1,500 institutions and the layoff of thousands of workers as a result.