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High Arab Unemployment Not a Problem in GCC

Middle East : 28 July 2010

GCC states have low unemployment rates despite total of 14 million jobless Arabs

Over 14 million Arabs were unemployed at the close of 2008.  The data is reported in spite of boosts in the region’s economy and the drive of many employers to create new jobs in the Middle East.

The jobless rate in GCC states such as the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait remains low while other oil producing areas in the Gulf have also managed to keep theirs from sky rocketing.

The Arab Labor Organization (ALO) out of Cairo released data showing that the high rate of unemployed in Arab League countries is mainly found outside of the GCC.  In places such as Mauritania and Djibouti, as well as war torn Somalia, the rate was higher than 30 per cent.

Unemployed Arabs numbered 14.005 million at the close of 2008 setting the rate at 14.37 per cent, according to the ALO figures.

The lowest jobless rate was found in Kuwait at 1.33 per cent.  Other low GCC figures included Qatar with only 2.4 per cent unemployed and the UAE at 3.12 per cent.

The unemployment rate in the balance of the GCC states was still relatively low, recorded at 4 per cent in Bahrain, with Saudi Arabia’s sitting at 5.63 per cent and Oman’s at 6.7 per cent.

Beyond the Gulf other countries are also maintaining a low jobless rate.  Syria’s is at 8.42 per cent while Egypt’s and Morocco’s sit at just over 9 per cent each (9.04 per cent for Egypt and 9.6 for Morocco).

The higher rates were found in other nations.  Sudan’s and Iraq’s stand at 17.3 per cent and 17.5 per cent, respectively.  Libya’s is at 18.15 per cent and Yemen’s rose to 18.46 per cent.  Palestine’s rate is 21.5 per cent, Mauritania’s stands at 33.2 per cent, Somalia’s at 34.7 per cent and Djibouti had a jobless rate of 35.24 per cent.

Rates that fell in the middle of the pack were Jordan with 12.7 per cent, Algeria with 13.8 per cent, Tunisia with 14.1 per cent and Lebanon standing at 15 per cent.

The actual number of unemployed Arabs was scattered differently.  Egypt’s jobless accounted for 2.188 million, Sudan had 2.07 million and Somalia’s were 1.72 million.  Iraq’s unemployed totaled 1.61 million, Morocco’s were 1.09 million and Yemen’s were 855,000.

Since many members have not yet submitted their jobless stats for the period covering 2009 and 2010, the ALO has no more recent data.  It was also stated that some member data was based on estimates by the ALO.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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