Gaza unemployment rate soars to nearly 80 percent amid war: UN agency

The unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip has soared to nearly 80 percent amid the Israel-Hamas war that has been raging since October, according to a United Nations labor agency report released Friday.

The war has caused a massive amount of job loss, bringing the unemployment rate in Gaza to 79.1 percent, according to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) assessment.

Unemployment in the West Bank, which has also been rocked by the conflict, has reached 32 percent. The unemployment rate across both territories now sits at 50.8 percent.

The unemployment numbers do not account for those people who have left the workforce, with jobs being unobtainable, therefore those figures are even higher than what the unemployment rate numbers show, according to the assessment.

“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. “This compounds the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and further endangers their safety and wellbeing.”

Gaza Strip’s real gross domestic product (GDP) has shrunk by 83.5 percent. In the West Bank, it has dropped by 22.7 percent over the last eight months, according to ILO data. The real GDP of both territories has been diminished by an average of 32.8 percent.

The unemployment rate were around 46.6 percent in 2022, according to United Nations data.

The war started when the Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 Israelis and taking around 250 hostages. Israel’s forces have retaliated with a military operation that has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials. Both tallies include both civilians and combatants.

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