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Source: United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
30 June 2010

Since 1996 UNSCO has continually monitored and reported on socio-economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory and in the process established an extensive socio-economic database. UNSCO does not create raw data but rather uses available data which, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is relatively abundant. However, the data that is available tends to remain dispersed and is not always automatically shared between institutions. The objective of the database is to bring together in one place a wide variety of data on socio-economic conditions and by doing so present a broader, more detailed perspective on socio-economic conditions. The purpose of this report is to: 1) broaden the access to this database through publication of the most recent data gathered; and 2) provide readers with up to date information on socio-economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The report is divided into four sections:

Section 1 consists of a one-page fact sheet which provides a snapshot view of the socio-economic situation for the current and previous reporting period and it provides, for reference purposes, base line figures for the period just prior to the outbreak of the second Intifada.

Sections 2 and 3 report on the macro-economic situation and the economic activity throughout the oPt, including private sector and banking activity. Section 4 focuses on access of goods in and out of the Gaza strip. All sections provide data on the last six reporting periods for each indicator as well as base line data, which is pre Al-Aqsa intifada. In addition, summary analysis on observed trends is presented below each table.

In addition, this month’s report includes an analysis of the unemployment situation in Gaza, based on a desk review of recent research and field interviews with relevant stakeholders in Gaza.

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip

Unemployment rates throughout the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) witnessed a significant decrease in the first quarter of 2010, dipping from 24.8 % in the last quarter of 2009 to 22.0%12 in the first quarter of 2010. In the West Bank the rate decreased from 18.1% to 16.5% while in Gaza
Strip, the rate decreased from 39.3 % to 33.9%.

It is worth noting, at the same time, that underemployment13 increased from 6.6% to 6.8%. While the rate showed a slight decrease in the West Bank (from 7.1% to 6.1%) underemployment in Gaza increased from 5.4 % to 8.1%.

In the Gaza Strip, increases in employment were recorded mostly in the sectors of Agriculture, Mining and Construction while the sectors of Commerce, Restaurants and Hotels and other services experienced a decline in their employment rate.

12 PCBS Figures.
13 Underemployment exists when a person's employment is inadequate in relation to alternative employment, account being taken of his/her occupational skills( PCBS).

Recent research and interviews with the business community in Gaza have highlighted the following Factors for the recent decrease in unemployment:

However, most economic experts believe that in the absence of large scale implementation of infrastructure Projects and the resumption of exports, which would support private sector revitalization significant Changes in unemployment rates will remain seasonal and circumstantial at best, and that sustained economic development for Gaza’s growing population will remain difficult to achieve.

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