Unemployment Rising Rapidly in Kurdistan Region: Official

13/05/2017 - 00:23 Published in Reports

ERBIL — With the economic challenges facing the Kurdistan Region and security instability just outside its borders, the unemployment rate has rapidly raised since 2014.

Between 2005 and 2013, the Kurdistan Region has been enjoying a sustainable development, but after the emergence of the Islamic Sate (IS) in 2014 which followed a cut of Erbil’s share from the Iraqi federal budget, the Kurdish region faced various hardships which resulted in the rise of unemployment.

Yaseen Mahmoud, a spokesperson for Kurdistan Region’s Investors Union, put the increase down to the huge number of private companies which went bankrupt after 2014. “At least 700 companies and investors have became bankrupt since then,” Mahmoud told BasNews, noting that the issue has resulted in unemployment of at least 183,000 people from the private sector.

According to Kurdistan Region’s Directorate of Statistics, the rate of unemployment is now at 13%. Director Sirwan Mohammed said that 45,000 job opportunities were lost between 2014 and 2015 only.

Arif Hito, a Kurdish official with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, explained that the government has a program in cooperation with the private sector to provide them with workforce, but he revealed that the majority of unemployed people apply for the program but later reject the job as it does not meet their expectations.

Between 2014 and 2015, 13,000 work contracts in the private sector were terminated with no extension, the official said, adding that the government is hoping for the issue to be tackled through vocational training centers it has established for years.

Based on Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Planning, the total population of Kurdistan Region is over 5.5 million, from which 3,362,000 are considered as the workforce (between the age 15 to 64). The most recent survey conducted by the ministry estimates the rate of unemployment to be at 13.5%.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) records shows that the rate was below 5% between the years of 2011 and 2013.