Gaza’s jobless rate nears 80 percent as Israel devastates economy

The war in Gaza has driven the unemployment rate in the besieged Palestinian territory to nearly 80 percent, the United Nations reported on Friday.

The UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) revealed that the conflict between Hamas and Israel, which began in October last year, has devastated jobs and livelihoods on a massive scale.

The ILO’s brief, in collaboration with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, shows the unemployment rate in Gaza has soared to 79.1 percent.

In the West Bank, unemployment has hit 32 percent, with the combined rate across both regions averaging 50.8 percent.

These figures, however, do not include those who have left the labor force entirely due to unattainable job prospects, suggesting the actual number of job losses is even higher.

The conflict, the bloodiest in Gaza’s history, was triggered by Hamas’s October 7 attack, resulting in over 1,190 Israeli deaths and the abduction of 251 hostages, with 120 still held in Gaza.

Israel’s subsequent military response has caused over 36,700 deaths in Gaza, predominantly civilians.

Speaking at the International Labour Conference, ILO chief Gilbert F. Houngbo described Gaza’s labor market as “collapsed” and called for a job-rich, rights-driven recovery plan, emphasizing that rebuilding efforts must focus on creating decent work and infrastructure, contingent on ending the war and releasing hostages.

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