Lebanon's unemployment rate nearly triples since start of economic crisis

Nearly 30 per cent of the population is without a job, according to a survey by national statistics agency and the UN

The Lebanese currency has lost more than 90 per cent of its value since 2019. AFP
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Lebanon’s official unemployment rate has nearly tripled in fewer than three years since the start of the country's devastating economic crisis, a survey has found.

“Lebanon's unemployment rate increased from 11.4 per cent in 2018-2019 to 29.6 per cent in January 2022, indicating that almost one third of the active labour force was unemployed in January 2022,” said a survey by Lebanon's Central Administration of Statistics and the UN’s International Labour Organisation.

The informal economy accounted for about 30 per cent of employment, the survey revealed.

The study also reported a huge growth in “underutilised labour”, from 16.2 per cent in 2018-2019 to 50.1 per cent in January 2022, referring to people who are available to work more hours than they do.

After many years of corruption and financial mismanagement, the Lebanese currency has lost more than 90 per cent of its value since 2019, as the scale of the economic collapse became more apparent. Much of the population live in poverty.

In a staff-level agreement reached with the government last month, the International Monetary Fund urged Lebanon to reform its bloated public sector, which employs about a quarter of the working population.

Unemployment has not featured prominently in the campaigns led by the main parties fielding candidates in Sunday's parliamentary election, the first since 2018.

Updated: May 12, 2022, 4:52 PM