Palestinian unemployment rate seen spiking to over 50% amid Gaza conflict, ILO says

By Thomson Reuters Mar 18, 2024 | 7:18 AM

GENEVA (Reuters) – The Israel-Palestinian conflict is seen pushing the rate of Palestinian unemployment in the occupied West Bank and Gaza to above 50%, the International Labour Organization said on Monday.

Already more than half a million jobs have been lost since Oct. 7 2023, when Israel began a retaliatory military campaign in Gaza after Hamas militants launched deadly cross-border attacks, the new report showed. If the conflict continues until end-March then the unemployment rate will soar to 57%, it said.

ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat said that the destruction of infrastructure and schools, hospitals and business in Gaza had “decimated entire economic sectors and paralyzed labour market activity, with untold repercussions on the lives and livelihoods of Palestinians for generations to come.”

In Gaza, some 200,000 jobs have been lost, accounting for about two-thirds of total employment in the enclave.

In the West Bank, the report described “near lockdown” conditions with more than 650 permanent and temporary checkpoints across the territory having significant negative effects on the economy. More than 300,000 jobs, or about a third of total employment, have already been lost there, it said.

(Reporting by Emma Farge)