Gaza's Employment Crisis Deepens, 80% Jobless — UN Reports

The Gaza war has spawned a massive jobs crisis, the UN reported Friday, with a staggering 80% of the population now out of work, a grim testament to the conflict’s ruinous impact on the local economy.

The UN’s labor body warns that the protracted conflict has had a devastating impact on Gaza’s economy, resulting in massive job losses, destroyed livelihoods, and a precipitous decline in economic activity.

Since the war began in October last year, “the unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip has reached a staggering 79.1 percent”, the International Labour Organization said, citing a new brief by the ILO and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

The jobless crisis has also engulfed the West Bank, where 32% of the workforce is now idle, pushing the overall unemployment average across the West Bank and Gaza to a whopping 50.8%, the ILO reveals.

However, these figures “do not account for those who have left the labour force altogether as job prospects proved unattainable”, it said.

“The actual number of those who have lost their jobs is therefore even higher than what the unemployment figures suggest.”

The October 7 attack by Hamas unleashed the most brutal Gaza conflict on record, resulting in a staggering 1,194 fatalities, mostly civilian casualties, according to an AFP count based on Israeli official data.

The violence was further marked by the taking of 251 hostages, with 120 still in militant custody in Gaza, and the military reporting 41 of them as deceased.

Read also: Gaza War: Netanyahu To Address US Congress On 24 July

Israel’s retaliatory military offensive has killed at least 36,731 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

The ILO said real GDP had contracted by 83.5 percent in the Gaza Strip and by 22.7 percent in the West Bank over the past eight months.

“Our new bulletin shows that the grim toll the war in the Gaza Strip has taken on human lives, and the desperate humanitarian situation it has caused, are accompanied by widespread devastation of economic activities and livelihoods,” said Ruba Jaradat, the ILO regional director for Arab states.

The Gaza Strip’s private sector has been decimated, with nearly all businesses grinding to a halt or drastically scaling back operations, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). This devastating decline has resulted in a staggering 85.8% loss in production value, equivalent to a whopping $810 million, in just four short months.

The Gaza Strip’s economic fortunes have plummeted, now accounting for a mere 4.1% of the overall Palestinian economy – a staggering drop from its pre-war contribution of 16.7%. This glaring decline underscores the devastating impact of conflict on the region’s economic sphere.

Africa Today News, New York 

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