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Discrepancy in the unemployment rate figures between international institutions


As Safir published yesterday a report on the discrepancy in the unemployment figures released by international institutions, particularly given the absence of any reliable national statistics on the needs of the employment markets in the private and public sectors and the fact that there is no population census since 1932.
The president of General Confederation of Lebanese Workers, Ghassan Ghosn noted that estimations for the unemployment rates vary significantly between ILO, World Bank and ESCWA and none matches the figures of official Lebanese authorities.  Ghosn said that unemployment amongst the youth segment of the population has exceeded 37% in 2013 according to the data available with the general trade union.  He clarified that this figure was estimated taking into consideration the young people who have lost their jobs in 2013 as well as university graduates actively looking for a job and those who have emigrated.
Although none doubts that unemployment rates have increased in 2013 compared to 2012, the ILO report entitled “Global Employment Trends 2014” which was released last month places unemployment amongst the youth at a lower level of 22% in 2013.  The report notes the correlation with the events in the region and the impact of the Syrian crisis on the Lebanese economy and the state of the job market.
Furthermore, Ghosn pointed out, within the same vein, that the influx of Syrian refugees has increased the size of the low-skilled labor force by 30% to 50% thus intensifying competition amongst job seekers.  He highlighted the importance of applying policies that would invigorate the job market, improve productivity and create new job opportunities. He noted that Lebanese economy is only creating 9,000 jobs a year compared to a total of 35,000 jobs needed so as to absorb the newcomers from universities and technical schools. Ghosn also noted that 563,949 workers are registered at the NSSF, while 200,000 other workers are engaged in the informal sector such as in micro and small enterprises as well as in construction sites.
Source: Al-Safir 5 February 2014

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