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After pandemic, Jordan left with thousands of graduates and no jobs

The report identified a rate of 50 percent unemployment among youth. It also showed that less than 15 percent of Jordanian women in the country were employed in 2019, compared to a rate of 34 percent
The report identified a rate of 50 percent unemployment among youth. It also showed that less than 15 percent of Jordanian women in the country were employed in 2019, compared to a rate of 34 percent among the total population, which is considered to be one of the lowest rates in the world. (Photo: Unsplash)
AMMAN — High rates of youth unemployment exposed in a new World Bank report have the possibility to threaten Jordan’s political and economic stability as well as increase crime rates, according to experts. اضافة اعلان

The report identified a rate of 50 percent unemployment among youth. It also showed that less than 15 percent of Jordanian women in the country were employed in 2019, compared to a rate of 34 percent among the total population, which is considered to be one of the lowest rates in the world. It also found Jordan’s poverty rate increased by approximately 11 percent.  

Hussein Al-Khozahe, a sociology professor and specialist flagged the issue of unemployment almost a decade ago with a report titled, “Unemployment is within Alarming Rates.” He feels that the rates in the research were “anticipated”.  

“There is a critical problem here and it lies in the unemployment” of those that are of working age and account for a quarter of the population, explained Khozahe in an interview with Jordan News

“They are eager to work but are unable to find opportunities. Another critical issue is unemployment among married citizens, who are heading their households. The unemployment rate among them is around 30 percent — which is an alarming percentage — and these individuals are destitute and hungry,” he said. “Also the number of individuals applying for the ‘bread subsidies program’ is currently expected to be around 1.5 million, which is a form of warning mentioned in the report as an issue calling for immediate action.” 

According to Khozahe, the deluge of unemployment could also leave a negative impact on society as a whole. 

“The Civil Service Bureau has 430,000 applications.  This situation raises the indebtedness and the inability to cope with the burdens of life and may lead to a lack of the ability to provide for basic everyday needs,” he argued. 

“This could eliminate the passion, belonging and appreciation of the citizens towards their country and may generate anger, frustration, and non-participation in national matters,” the sociologist went on. He argued that unemployment “could eventually lead to an increase in the crime rate — which has reached 66 percent — in attempts to provide (for) these basic needs.” 

Ahmad Awad, Director of the Phenix Center for Economics and Informatics Studies, believes that these rates are the result of “years of aggravation, but more importantly, the nature of the Jordanian economy’s structure,” as well as the nature of Jordan’s economic choices and economic policies over the last few years. 

“These policies failed to boost the economy, develop it, or bring it out of the 10-year economic downturn,” Awad told Jordan News over the phone. “Jordan’s economic condition remained centered on a lower rate than that of the population growth.”
Awad added that high taxes have decreased people’s purchasing power and therefore consumption capacity, “which are regarded as the primary cause of the economic growth shortcoming.”

“Education policies have expanded university education at the expense of technical, intermediate, and vocational education, resulting in hundreds of thousands of university graduates unable to find jobs,” he added.  

According to Awad, the rate of unemployment among female university graduates is 78 percent, whereas the rate of unemployment among male university graduates is 26.5 percent. 

He also believes that another major factor is poor working conditions in the private sector and little regard for the social security law. This explains the presence of approximately “1 million migrant workers in Jordan while there are around 450,000 unemployed Jordanians.” 

Yousef Mohammad Damra, an economic analyst, believes that the pandemic is an additional key factor to the rise in these unemployment rates. According to Damra, there were “severely difficult circumstances” before COVID, but the pandemic amplified these issues.

“Without a doubt, the economic repercussions of the pandemic are too severe for Jordan’s economic growth, especially after a period of many downturns as seen with the tourism sector for example,” he told Jordan News. “Not to mention that the labor market could not bear the influx of fresh graduates and was unable to accommodate such large numbers, which amount to 50,000 graduates annually. As a result, you now find at least one unemployed individual in most Jordanian households.” 

The report also identified a number of reasons why many Jordanian women are unable to join the labor market, such as a lack of safe and adequate public transportation and a lack of good and affordable childcare services.

Chairman of the Economic and Political Council, Mohammad Al-Halayga, told Jordan News that “Many measures must be taken to encourage women to work, such as supporting small businesses and providing a variety of child care services on job sites for working mothers.”

“It is also necessary to raise awareness about the culture that limits women’s growth in the labor market,” he said. 

“Research indicates that the rate of working women in Jordan is very low, thus, there must be inclusive governmental policies and processes in place, as well as civil society organizations, all working to change this reality.” 

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