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‘Rising unemployment rate tied to economy’s inability to create new jobs’

By Maria Weldali - Jun 01,2021 - Last updated at Jun 01,2021

AMMAN — The high youth unemployment rate can be largely attributed to the incapacity of Jordan’s economy to generate new employment opportunities, according to economists.

According to a World Bank analysis, the Jordanian economy contracted by 1.6 per cent in 2020, and the unemployment rate rose to 24.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, with youth unemployment rates reaching an unprecedented 50 per cent. 

According to economist Mazen Marji, each year between 80,000 and 90,000 new job seekers emerge, “but during the current deteriorating conditions amid the pandemic, the public and private sectors together can only employ 30,000 people, at most”.

In the first year of the pandemic, about 140,000 employees in Jordan lost their livelihoods, Marji told The Jordan Times, noting that the COVID pandemic has significantly affected women’s employment.

“Jordan has one of the youngest populations in the world, with 63 per cent of its population under the age of 30,” according to the UNICEF website.

Access to job opportunities is difficult and the situation for girls is even more challenging, as Jordan has the third lowest female labour force participation rate in the world, the website said. 

In a similar note, economist Husam Ayesh said Jordan’s economy has shifted into “a new stage of economic meltdown where Jordanian youth face difficulty in finding employment”.

In the past, university graduates were the ones who often experienced difficulties in obtaining jobs while young Jordanians who never finished high school or who were enrolled in vocational training landed jobs easier, he said.

“Now everyone faces the same issue, which is unemployment,” Ayesh added.

 

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