The Palestinian economy showed signs of strength last year, growing 4.5 percent in 1999 and expanding fast enough to create 47,100 new jobs during the first half of the year, pushing down unemployment and increasing per-capita GDP, according the UN's special coordinator in the Palestinian Authority, Terry Laursen.
Al-Quds Al-Arabi daily reports that the economic growth was higher than the 4.1 percent in 1998 and occurred despite a drop in investments over the preceding year. In place of private sector investment, aid from donor countries were the primary investment source in both local infrastructure and in developing and modernizing the judiciary and administrative institutions of the Palestinian Authority.
In other indicators that the Palestinian economy was improving, economic developments created 47,100 new jobs in the first half of 1999. Of these, 26,000 jobs, or 6 out of 10 jobs, were created by local Palestinian economic enterprises. The private sector contributed up to 3/4 of these jobs helping to push down unemployment to 13.8% in the first half of 1999 from 15.6% in the corresponding period a year earlier.
Palestinians were also able to find more jobs in Israel. According to the newspaper, Palestinians found 19,000 new jobs in the year's first half. This raised the number of Palestinians employed in Israel to 122,000 during the first six months of 1999, roughly 50 percent of whom did not have official permits to work in Israel.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)