September 21, 2020. According to figures (Arabic) by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate in Gaza increased by 3.6% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter, and by 2.4% compared to the second quarter of 2019, now standing at 49.1%. The figures released cover April through June 2020, meaning they do not reflect the additional impact of measures imposed by local authorities since the outbreak of community transmission of coronavirus in Gaza during August 2020, which have further reduced employment.
The rate of participation in the workforce in Gaza during the second quarter of 2020 was 34.5%, a drop of roughly 11% compared to the previous quarter. According to the figures, some 42,900 people in Gaza lost their source of income since the end of March 2020; 15,201 of them in the service and hotel industry.
The percentage of women in Gaza’s workforce stood at 14.7% in the second quarter of the year, compared to 18.4% in the first. The actual number of women employed in Gaza dropped from some 41,000 in the previous quarter to less than 29,000 in the second quarter – a 30% drop. The rate of unemployment among young women (15-29) is particularly stark, reaching 92%, compared to 63.2% unemployment among men in the same age group. The overall rate of unemployment among youth in Gaza grew from 64.2% in the first quarter to 69.9% in the second.
The gap between unemployment in Gaza (49.1%) and in the West Bank (14.8%) grew even wider in the second quarter of 2020, reaching 34.3%, compared to a 31.3% gap in the unemployment rates recorded in each area in the previous quarter.
The number of jobs in the agriculture and fishing sectors, decreased by 12% compared to the previous quarter of the year, a loss of about 1,600 jobs. About 40% of people employed in Gaza in the second quarter are public sector employees, that is, people employed by the Palestinian Authority or by the local government in the Strip. These employees have been receiving partial salaries for some time now, and often get paid late. Average daily earnings in the public sector are 96 ILS (less than 28 USD), compared to just 31.9 ILS (less than 10 USD) on average per day in the private sector.
Since March 2020, thousands of laborers who had previously exited to work in Israel via Erez Crossing have been denied access to their jobs.