More than 50 % of Yemenis do not have jobs now

7 Oct
More than 50 % of Yemenis do not have jobs now
Financial analysts, “A financial disaster is on the way.”
Unemployed men chewing qat on a pavement in Bab Al-Balaqa while waiting to be hired for any job. The political crisis that followed the uprise has brought the economy to its knees and unemployment is now thought to have reached over 60%.

Malak Shaher, Yemen Times Published:06-10-2011

Ameen Saleh, a civil engineer in his mid-thirties, had a job at the Jabal Salab project. The project involved the extraction of silver and zinc in Yemen. Saleh described it as “one of the biggest in its kind that was expected to offer jobs for other 300 people.”.

 However the company has suspended its works and has left Yemen recently due to the political crises. As a result, Saleh and another 300 have lost their jobs.  

 Like Jabal Salab, dozens of other projects were suspended due to the uprisings that started in March and like Saleh, hundreds of Yemenis have lost their jobs as well.

According to a recent report by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, unemployment in Yemen has increased in the recent seven months. It now stands at over 50 per cent.

The report that was published last month postulated that the percentage would continue to increase in the coming 20 years if the situation remained the same.

The report also expected that the number of the university graduates would increase three fold as each year, more than 30,000 students graduate from Yemen’s public and private universities.

The number of those who entered the workforce in 2010 was nearly 330,000, two thirds of whom are graduates. The number also includes those who have dropped out from their schools, according to the report.

At the beginning of the year, prior to the uprising in Yemen, the same ministry had  published a report saying that the ministry had a plan to carry which would result in an  unemployment fall  by the half by 2015.

According to the previous reports by the Ministry of Planning, Yemen suffers from 18 percent unemployment.

However, according to economists, Yemen’s actual unemployment was estimated to be  no less than 35 percent.

Small business are suffering

Ali Qaed, a professor in Faculty of Commerce at Sana’a University, has said Yemen’s workforce does not only work in offices but also in businesses.

He said that those who earn a living with jobs in construction — the daily workers and grocers — have lost their jobs.

According to questionnaire done by the Yemen Microfinance Network to investigate the consequences of the current political situation on the microfinance institutions in Yemen from February 2011 to May 2011, 77 per cent of the concerned institutions stopped providing loans for people with small business.  The suspension of providing people with small loans was for periods ranging between several days up to a few months.

People with small business like those selling vegetables take loans of around 20,000 ( less than USD 100)  and sometimes 10,000 YR. They buy vegetables from farms and sell their produce in the city.

According to the questionnaire, at least 88 per cent of the institutions reported that their operations have been affected due to crises. Reasons have been attributed to electricity cut-offs, lack of local fuel and means of transportations.

“If the situation remained the same, this disaster will even become bigger that we will not be able to control it,” said Qaed.

“Due to the crises now in Yemen, thousands have no source of earning a living.  A great deal of its workforce works in daily business,” he added.

Qaed added that even those who are working in governmental offices, do not go to work nowadays. He said that more people are needed to do the work that one person used to do in the past.

According to Mustafa Al-Zendani, the head of the publications in the Ministry of Planning, most of employees cannot practice their normal work due to the situation.

“As clashes keep on breaking out from time to time these days, the employees sometimes do not come to work as they live in areas near by the blasts and gunfire,” said Al-Zendani.


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