Jordan's Labor Minister Eid Fayez said Jordan's unemployment rate was not alarming and that fluctuations in the rate were normal.
“Jordan's unemployment rate is normal,” the minister said, adding that the Kingdom's 13.2 percent unemployment could be described as “average” when compared with Britain, Germany and Spain, whose unemployment rates stand at eight, nine and 22 percent respectively.
The minister was speaking following the signing of an agreement between INJAZ and the ministry on training opportunities for IT-related jobs.
The Department of Statistics earlier this week reported that the unemployment rate rose slightly to 13.4 percent, up from 13.2 percent in August.
“Unemployment goes up and down depending on the time an unemployment survey is conducted,” the minister said.
“It [also] depends on students' graduation from universities, the sample taken and the changes in the method of asking,” he added.
According to Fayez, if the survey questioned whether someone has been unemployed two weeks before the survey, the unemployment ratio will be less if somebody was asked if he/she has been unemployed for one month or three months. In summer, when universities usually graduate students, unemployment also soars, he said.
The survey also said that unemployment in central Jordan was the highest among all the Kingdom's areas. The minister attributed that to the density of population in the area.
“Fifty-one per cent of [Jordan's] population is located in the central [areas] while they only occupy 17 percent of the country's total area. While in the southern areas, population stands at nine percent and they occupy 50 percent of the country's surface,” he said.
Independent institutions in 1997 estimated the unemployment rate in Jordan at 27 percent, almost double the department's official figures given at that time.
Asked for a comment on the unofficial rate Fayez said, “Everyone says whatever he wants, but the ministry only approves the Department of Statistics [findings].”
According to Fayez, the department follows the International Labor Organization's official survey methodologies.
He added that the recent unemployment figures were not alarming, but said that the ministry has been irritated by “exaggerations” of the unemployment rate.
A department survey revealed that unemployment among male Jordanians stood at 11.6 percent and among females at 22.2 percent.
According to the August survey, unemployment among males in rural areas stood at 14.9 percent, compared with urban areas where the rate was 13 percent. It said joblessness among women in rural areas was 26.6 percent, compared to 21.3 percent in urban areas. — ( Jordan Times )
By Oula Al Farawati
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )