Musings On Iraq have put together a very informative piece on the United Nations report on unemployment in Iraq. The number isn’t as high as I thought it would be from all the unofficial numbers that have been floated before. The UN report says that 18% or Iraqis are unemployed. The Iraqi government is the biggest employer:
With the Iraqi fiscal budgets shrinking again and again while oil prices keep dropping Iraq’s largest employer is putting a hold on all future hiring.
The first who’ve heard the bad news were graduates and new students of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy universities. The ministry of health announced that this year they will only hire 300 (really?!!! is that all we need? I thought we had a shortage of personnel) graduate doctors and all new students were told there are no places for them in hospitals.
You’d think all is peachy in the Iraqi health sector. More probably the truth is that the government over-hired and now has to pay way to many salaries than it can afford.
After the medical profession was given the happy news the rest of Iraq was informed via TV. Gov is not hiring anymore. Unless you’re just coming back with an MA or PhD from foreign, then they might make an exception. And with no private sector this leave too many graduates with no jobs.
And as Musing On Iraq note, the young are very very unemployed. It’s become a worry. What you sense on the street is that you can find employment very easily if you can work with your hands. Labourers, bricklayers, just anyone who’s prepared to roll up his/her sleeves and do manual labour will find a well paid job.
Recently an acquaintance who works in contracting found it very difficult to hire someone to move cement bags in a cart for less than US$40 a day.. a fortune. No white-collar with the government pays that much.. well, unless you’re in the Green Zone.
With all this the Iraqi government’s decision to cut back on new investments and projects – the only source of new employment – is baffling. We need to build build build, there isn’t enough housing, the roads are terrible and it would create a lot of employment. Instead they cut money ear tagged for investment.