Mideast economies need to create 46 million jobs by 2020 to reduce unemployment to global norm

Mideast economies need to create 46 million jobs by 2020 to reduce unemployment to global norm


THE REGION (source World Bank)

— Oil exporters: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

— Developing oil exporters: Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen (in the latter three civil war and/or anti-government uprisings significantly disrupted production)

— Oil importers: Jordan, Lebanon, Djibouti, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia


— 377 million in 2011, up from 363 million in 2009

— In Arab Spring countries, anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of the population are estimated to be under 25, with the biggest youth bulge in Yemen and the smallest in Tunisia.

Fertility rates, while falling, drive the world’s second highest rate of population growth, of 1.8 percent per year in 2011, compared with Europe’s 0.5 percent.

ECONOMY AND JOBS (source World Bank)

— The region’s Gross Domestic Product is almost $2.7 billion, half of that from six oil-exporting countries with just 12 percent of the region’s population. Economic growth averaged 4.9 percent a year in the 2000s. It would have to reach 6 percent a year to create 46 million jobs and reduce unemployment to the global norm of 6 percent by 2020, according to Elena Ianchovichina, the World Bank’s lead economist in the region.

YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT (2011, age 15-24, source International Labor Organization)

— Worldwide: 12.3 percent

— Developed economies, including European Union: 17.6 percent

— Middle East: 27.7 percent

— North Africa: 23.3 percent


— The region has the highest central government wage bill in the world, with 10 percent of GDP, compared with the global average of 5.5 percent.

— Public sector wages in the region are on average 30 percent higher than in the private sector. Worldwide, public sector wages are on average 20 percent lower than in the private sector.

— Removing jobs in agriculture from the equation, public sector employment reaches 40 percent of the labor force in Jordan and 70 percent in Egypt.

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