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Work & livelihoods: Rising unemployment and prices in the absence of pubic control

16-1-2020

An Nahar today warned of a grave unemployment crisis brought on by the calamitous economic and financial situation. Citing Information International, the newspaper revealed that the year 2019 has seen the layoff of nearly 18,000 employees, including 9,000 in the past three months of the same year, in addition to the cut to half in salaries of about 50,000 employees. Others have not received their thirteenth salaries, the newspaper wrote, noting that most of the layoffs were in the tourism and hospitality sector. In a related vein, An Nahar quoted labor minister, Kamil Abu Sleiman, who noted that the ministry has recently received 120 requests from companies involving collective termination of employment, including 5,000 employees, while the said newspaper confirmed that the number could be much bigger, noting that InfoPro Research estimated in a study on the conditions of the private sector, published last November, that since popular protests on October 17, 2019, private sector lost more than 160,000 permanent or temporary jobs, and closed 10% of its establishments. Regarding unemployment rate, An Nahar quoted human development consultant, Adeeb Ne3meh, who stated that the rate of unemployment is expected to rise in the upcoming months, either directly through job loss or through reducing working hours and working days and hence paying half the salary. Similarly, Al Diyar daily mentioned the fluctuation in prices of the basic commodities and foodstuff is not only the result of the high exchange rate of the US dollar at money exchangers, but also because of monopolistic, Al Diyar explained, quoting a number of large merchants who said they imported large quantities of goods before the October 17 Uprising. Surveillance of traders by competent authorities is very difficult at this critical stage, especially that the number of small traders is tremendous against only 140 inspectors from the ministry of economy and trade. Al Diyar pointed out that, based on the Consumer Price Index of the Central Administration of Statistics, clothing and footwear prices increased by 30% during November compared to the prices of October. The prices of spirits, tobacco, furniture and household items rose 15%!. (An Nahar, Al Diyar, January 16, 2020)

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