The Labor Market in the First Half of 2015

In the first half of 2015 the labor market in Palestine witnessed a minor improvement from the last quarter of 2014 in terms of unemployment. Although it remained high, the unemployment rate declined from 26.5% in Q4/2014 to 25.6% in Q1/2015 and then further to 24.8% in Q2/2015. In both quarters of 2015 the rate was slightly lower than the 26.2% rate in the first half of 2014. The wide discrepancies between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip remained. The unemployment rate in the West Bank was 16.3% in Q1/2015 (lower than 17.4% in Q4/2014 and 18.2% in Q1/2014) and 15.4% in Q2/2015 (lower than 16.0% in Q2/2014). In the Gaza Strip the unemployment rate equaled 41.6% in Q1/2015 (lower than 42.8% in Q4/2014 but higher than 40.8% in Q1/2014) and 41.5% in Q2/2015 (lower than 44.5% in Q2/2014). Palestinian females faced significantly higher level of unemployment (36.2% in Q1/2015 and 38.9% in Q2/2015) than Palestinian males (22.8% and 21.0%, correspondingly). In terms of age, the highest unemployment was observed among the youth (20-24 years) – nearly 42%. With regards to educational attainment, females with 13 or more years of schooling experienced the highest unemployment rate of 44.0% in Q1/2015 and 48.7% in Q2/2015.

The labor force participation rate remained at 45.6%-45.7% during the first half of the year. This means that there were 1,276,000 Palestinians in the labor force in Q1/2015 and 1,291,000 in Q2/2015. No major differences in the labor force participation rate existed between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Nonetheless, the significant gap between male and female participation remained as more than 71% of males of 15 or more years of age were in the labor force, while the corresponding rate for females was around 19%.

The difference in remuneration between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip also continued. In the West Bank the average daily wage for wage employees was 94.2 NIS in Q1/2015 and 95.3 NIS in Q2/2015, while in the Gaza Strip it was only 61.3 NIS in Q1/2015 and 61.8 NIS in Q2/2015.

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