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ILO projects Arab region’s unemployment at 9.8 pct in 2024

The Arab region’s unemployment rate is expected to remain at 9.8 percent in 2024, above the pre-pandemic levels, said a report released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) on Tuesday, calling for urgent action in the “complex” Arab labor market.

The report attributed the high rate to factors including “segmentation between nationals and migrants, and public and private sectors in the GCC (the Gulf Cooperation Council) countries.

For non-GCC states, there are issues of instability, conflict, crisis, a weak private sector, and demographic pressures, the report said.

In the report titled “Arab States Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2024: Promoting Social Justice through a Just Transition,” ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat called for urgent action as the labor market situation in the Arab States is “complex.”

“We hope this report can help identify solutions to promote not only thriving and fair labor markets but also peace and stability across our region,” Jaradat said.

The report noted that many employment challenges in the region are caused by the economies’ inability to generate enough high-quality jobs for those seeking employment.

“Consequently, more than half of the workers are in informal and insecure jobs, without social protection or other benefits,” said the report, adding that working poverty affected 7.1 million workers, or 12.6 percent of the total employment, in 2023.

“There are also significant challenges on the supply side. Inadequate education and skills development systems have resulted in a mismatch between the skills employers need and those workers can offer,” it said.

The report highlighted a need to intensify attempts to diversify the economy, especially in oil-producing countries exposed to oil price fluctuations, and to create jobs in more resilient sectors, especially in countries affected by conflict and instability.

The report also recommended implementing effective green policies and measures to facilitate a just transition that assists all impacted individuals and does not leave anyone behind.

“With the right green policies, the region could increase its GDP by 200 billion U.S. dollars and create 2 million more jobs by 2050,” the report said. ■

Famagusta Gazette