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Unemployment among youths in Jordan almost double int’l average — study

By Khetam Malkawi - May 08,2014 - Last updated at May 08,2014

AMMAN — Unemployment among young Jordanians is almost twice the global average and stands at 24.1 per cent, according to a survey released on Thursday.

The study, conducted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in cooperation with the Department of Statistics, noted that although the youth unemployment rate in the Kingdom is higher than the global one, it is still lower than the regional average, which stood at 28.3 per cent in 2012.

Meanwhile, the survey said that “the duration of youth unemployment in the country is a serious concern.”

“Long-term unemployment — one year or more — affects 55.8 per cent of the currently unemployed,” the survey said, adding that the percentage of unemployed young Jordanians who have been looking for work for at least six months is 72.4 per cent.

Titled, “Labour Market Transitions of Young Women and Men in Jordan”, the survey indicated that youth unemployment in the Kingdom is concentrated at the extremes of educational attainment according to gender lines. 

“The lowest skilled among men and the highest skilled among women are those most likely unemployed,” the study said.

It added that most male jobseekers (61.2 per cent) have completed only primary education, and are struggling to find employment in an economy that is increasingly based on services striving to move up the value chain.

“Female unemployment is largely tertiary-educated [70.7 per cent] and stems from the limited number of jobs available in the few employment sectors open to women,” according to the survey.

In addition, the ILO survey showed that rural youths do not face higher employment challenges than urban youths during their transitions.

“At 20.6 per cent, the youth unemployment rate in urban areas is almost four percentage points higher than in rural areas,” the survey indicated.

It also revealed that only 11.2 per cent of the young female population in the Kingdom is working compared to 47.2 per cent of young men.

“In Jordan, where those under 30 represent nearly 70 per cent of the population, providing decent work opportunities is commensurate with the nation’s future,” ILO Deputy Regional Director Frank Hagemann said.

In remarks at a workshop held to launch the survey’s results, Hagemann noted that there are not enough decent jobs to go around nowadays, and transitions to the labour market remain long and difficult. 

“It is therefore a compelling priority of governments across the world to address the youth employment challenge through effective and equitable policy, not least in Jordan itself,” he said.

The ILO official explained that Jordan was one of the 28 countries taking part in conducting such a survey, which is part of the global Work4Youth project supported by the MasterCard Foundation. 

The aim of the project is to produce global level data on the transitions of young people to the labour market.

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