Unemployment (2-2) [Archives:2005/882/Business & Economy]

October 3 2005

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In the Arab World, there is a risk of the unemployment multiply due to the deterioration of education and incompetence of educational outputs, as well as the lack of coping with contemporary technological and economic requirements that are based on cognitive economics.

The Arab workforce suffers a deterioration in skills and specialized scientific and technical training, particularly in the modern cognitive and scientific areas. This is due to the backward policies in the areas of education and training, and the absence of a clear strategic vision to get out of the current circle of backwardness.

The majority of Arab countries are still unable to bring skillful and creative workforce to cope the modern requirements of development and top quality standards. On the part of the Arab laborer, the average productivity never reaches $800 a year while it exceeds $60,000 a year in the big industrialized communities.

Yemen is one of the few countries that witness the highest population growth, which is 3.7% per year, and according to official scores it is the category of people aging between 15-30 years, which shows the biggest population growth. Such a population growth has its negative impacts by increasing pressure on the labor market and it exacerbates the situation and raises the number of unemployed persons.

The unemployment in the country has increased, mainly after the Yemeni women entered the labor market. Statistics reveal that around 180,000 to 200,000 people join the Yemeni labor market every year, and the pushes the annual unemployment growth to 4%. The average unemployment rate among people aging between 15-29 comes at 65.4%, and by endorsing the results of the 1999 survey on the Yemeni workforce, the workforce was estimated at 4,520,000, while the number of workers in 2002 reached 3,942,000. Young people who join the labor market for the first time constitutes a big majority among the unemployed.

These facts are responsible for the lack of job opportunities in different economic sectors and of the unemployment among university graduates. According to official reports, the number of university graduates reached 20,000 in 1998 and over 100.000 in 2002. In this period the private sector needed only 1.6% of the total number of graduates and the public sector could create jobs for 16.8%.

2.1% of the vocational education outputs between 1996-2002 were accommodated by the private sector, whereas the government recruited 31% of them. Additionally, the number of Yemeni expatriates and immigrants abroad declined, due to restrictions imposed on the Yemeni workforce by the receiving countries, under the pretext that the majority of Yemeni laborers lack the adequate training and skills needed by the labor markets in these countries.

All these indicators seem to be similar in the majority of Arab countries, which expose the exacerbation of the phenomenon of unemployment that hinders the economic achievements and converts them into big losses. They also have their impacts on development and cause numerous serious issues that are responsible for the development of terrorism and extremism, as well as a state of desperation in the absence of stability and international justice. The big companies looting of the poorest countries' national wealth and exploitation of the circumstances worsen the issue of unemployment and result in local and regional conflicts which are difficult to surmount.