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Gaza: ILO Report Reveals Devastating Job Losses and Economic Impact in Palestinian Territories

Since October 7, a minimum of 66% of employment has been lost in Gaza Strip alone, equivalent to 192,000 jobs.
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Representational image. | Image Courtesy: PTI

Delhi: Revised estimates from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) suggest that since hostilities erupted in Gaza on October 7, a minimum of 66% of employment has been lost in Gaza Strip, equivalent to 192,000 jobs. 

The continuing hostilities are also increasingly impacting economic conditions in the West Bank, where revised estimates now indicate that around 32% of employment has been lost since October 7, equivalent to 276,000 jobs. As of November 30 2023, around 468,000 jobs are estimated to have been lost in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), compared to the earlier estimate of 390,000, the ILO said in its latest brief

These job losses translate into daily labor income losses of $20.5 million US dollars, as per the ILO Brief. The brief said, "As a result of the escalation of hostilities in Gaza and the devastating humanitarian crisis, the unemployment rate in the OPT is projected to increase from 24% in the 4th quarter 2022 to 46.1% in the 4th quarter 2023."

It further said, "In addition to the impact on workers from Gaza, some 171 thousand workers from the West Bank who previously worked in Israel and the settlements have lost or have been at risk of losing their jobs. Of these, 10,000 individuals were reported to have worked in the Israeli economy in November 2023, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Labour."

The bulletin projects that employment will decline in all economic sectors, except the agricultural sector, which is forecast to remain stable and provide a cushioning effect from the loss of employment from other sectors. The escalation of hostilities has resulted in a scarcity of basic necessities for the Gaza population as well, including food, water and medicines.

According to the PCBS, the crippling destruction of all aspects of life in Gaza Strip has resulted in the loss of 84% of the Strip’s usual monthly production in October and November 2023, with an estimated monthly loss of USD 200 million. The remaining productive capacity of 16% is made up of vital sectors that did not stop production completely, including the health sector, bakeries, and part of the internal trade sector to meet people's food and medicinal needs. This is in addition to $2.5 billion of losses in fixed assets and property. 

The ILO said it is implementing a three-phase response program in the OPT, set to provide both immediate relief and longer-term assistance to mitigate the effects of the crisis on hundreds of thousands of affected Palestinian workers and employers. It has launched an appeal for $20 million US dollars to fund the implementation of the ILO’s entire three-phase response plan.

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