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Workers’ House predicts rise in unemployment by end of 2020

AMMAN — A report by the Workers’ House predicted that the number of unemployed citizens will reach 629,000 by the end of this year.

The report, made available to The Jordan Times, noted that the predicted figure consists of 350,000 citizens who were unemployed before the coronavirus pandemic, 146,000 who are now likely to lose their jobs in the formal and informal sectors due to the pandemic, 100,000 who are new entrants to the labour market as job seekers and 33,000 are Jordanian expatriate workers who lost their jobs abroad.

The report noted that the World Bank estimated the remittances of Jordanians during 2019 to be $3.7 billion, a figure which declined during the first four months of 2020 by 6 per cent compared with last year.

The report emphasised that the return of expatriates will contribute, along with other factors, to a very large increase in unemployment rates.

“Remittances represent one of the most important sources of foreign reserves, along with investment, tourism and exports,” the report said.

According to the Association of Expatriate Businessmen, however, 25 per cent of the returnees plan on launching investment projects. 

“When these expatriates return, some of them will return to their old jobs in the Kingdom, as they were on leave without pay, some will launch their own projects and some will join the ranks of unemployment,” stated the Workers’ House report.

Before the pandemic, the unemployment rate stood at 19.3 per cent, meaning 350,000 citizens. The report feared that with the World Bank expecting the Kingdom’s economic growth to decline in 2020 by 5.8 per cent, the percentage will “significantly increase”.

In a more pessimistic scenario, the report stated that some experts expect the economic growth rate to decrease by 10 per cent, making the number of workers who are expected to lose their jobs stand at 146,000 workers.

“The local labour market will not be able to absorb this overwhelming rate even in wage jobs, as wage jobs offer a rate that is much less compared to other countries. The alternative solution could be to enable them to establish entrepreneurial projects and investments of their own, which requires setting incentive programmes for them and granting them the necessary facilities and exemptions,” the report concluded.

The Worker’s House is a civil society organisation concerned with labour and workers affairs. It prepares studies and reports related to the labour market.

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