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Arab Jobless Double the World Average

Middle East : 28 May 2012

Source: Times of Oman

Unemployment rate in the Arab World is more than double the world average.

A record 26.5 per cent of Arab youths were unemployed in 2011 while the world average was just 12.6 per cent, according to a report published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

What’s a more worrying trend is that by 2016, unemployment among youths in the Middle East is likely to reach 29 per cent, the report predicted.

“North Africa and the Middle East stand out in terms of their overall unemployment problem, and these are the only two regions where the unemployment rate exceeded 10 per cent in 2011 for the population aged 15 and above. Moreover, the ratio of youth-to-adult unemployment rates are exceptionally high, at 4.0 in the Middle East and at 3.9 in North Africa,- the ILO said in the Global Employment Trends for Youth report, which was released recently.

In North Africa, the unemployment rate is 27.9 per cent. The unemployment rate among youths in the Middle-East has been increasing since 2009, and only accelerated by the political and economic upheaval created during the Arab Spring, which has overthrown several governments, the report observed.

Though the figures of individual countries have not been published, it is learnt that the rate of unemployment was around 24 per cent in the Omani population before 50,000 new jobs were announced in February 2011. The country’s latest census in 2010 estimated the size of the Omani workforce at 1.27 million. Of this, 35.29 per cent are employed, 24.35 per cent jobless and 25.30 per cent are involved in domestic work.

However, the participation of Omani women in the workforce has kept increasing and reached 27 per cent of the total national work force -” from 8.6 per cent in 1993 to 22.2 per cent in 2003 -” the latest census showed. The Majlis Al Shura recently has commissioned a study to find out the ‘real’ cause and extent of the problem.

The ILO report said that since 2007 the global youth unemployment rate has started rising again, and the increase between 2008 and the height of the economic crisis in 2009 effectively wiped out much of the gains made in previous years.

“Globally, the youth unemployment rate has remained close to its crisis peak in 2009. At 12.6 per cent in 2011 and projected at 12.7 per cent in 2012, the global youth unemployment rate remains at least a full percentage point above its level in 2007. Nearly 75 million youth are unemployed around the world, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007,- the report added.

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