Ma'an News Agency
July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Close to half of Palestinian graduates were unemployed in 2010, the official Palestinian statistics agency said Wednesday, noting a slight decrease in unemployment from 2009.

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said 44.8 percent of Palestinians who completed university degrees were not in employment, an improvement on the 2009 figure of 47 percent.

Ramallah-based Minister of Labor Ahmad Majdalani said Wednesday that the decrease was an achievement in the face of the growing population, and the increase in proportion of university graduates, but stressed that the figures remained above normal averages for graduate unemployment.

Majdalani emphasized that graduates are the most capable population sector for the economy, and therefore low employment rates are a "great loss to the Palestinian labor market and to the prospects for economic development and growth."

The minister said a special fund for employment with a $600,000 budget was running pilot projects targeting specific population sectors, including graduates and workers in Israeli settlements.

The Palestinian Authority would contribute $5 million from its 2011 budget, Majdalani said. The fund headquarters has been established, and the team was being trained, he said, adding that the fund infrastructure would be in place by the end of 2011.


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