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Jordan unemployment rate reaches 'historic high’ — JEF

By JT - Sep 16,2020 - Last updated at Sep 16,2020

AMMAN — Unemployment rates in the Kingdom have “recorded the highest level in history” in 2020, the Jordan Economic Forum (JEF) said on Wednesday.

In a position paper titled "Unemployment in Jordan: Reality, expectations and proposals", the JEF highlighted the importance of preparing economic and investment solutions to “flatten the unemployment curve” with taking into consideration institutionalising the relation between the public and private sectors, so as to stimulate the latter to absorb more Jordanian workforce. 

On reality and expectations of unemployment in the Kingdom, the forum said that the rates have continued to grow for the sixth consecutive year reaching 23 per cent in the second-quarter of 2020, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

The JEF expected the unemployment rate to stand at 25 per cent by the yearend as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that exacerbated the problem due to local and international lockdowns that reduced supply and demand alike.

The number of annual jobs that the Jordanian economy provides ranges between 30,000 and 40,000 compared with having some 100,000 job seekers annually, the forum said.

JEF highlighted the possibility of resorting to the Okun's law that described the quantitative impact of change in unemployment rates on the GDP growth, so as to estimate the growth rate required in a given economy to reduce unemployment rate to their normal average that usually stands at 4 per cent. 

The Okun's law stipulates that if unemployment goes up by 1 per cent, the real GDP is expected to decline by 2 per cent, which means that to reduce the current unemployment rate in Jordan from 19.3 per cent to 4 per cent, the economy has to record a 30-per-cent growth rate, which is difficult on the short and medium terms, the forum said.

Pertaining to proposals aspect, JEF said that there is no alternative to address the problem but through real efforts that enhances existing investments before embarking on attracting new ones that can generate new jobs.

Among the proposals is adopting new concepts for the vocational training during work, which provides opportunities for secondary schools graduate to acquire skills in fields like accounting, data entry, client service, computer and others. 

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