Lebanese Unemployment in Numbers

570px-1909_Tyee_-_Faculty_FootThe Middle East, like the entire world, is facing a big economic disaster especially inflation and unemployment that represent the two obvious characteristics of the economic crisis. In this blog post, I will discuss the problem of unemployment in Lebanon by referring to some clear examples and data before giving my opinion.

Since the end of the civil war, Lebanon is facing a severe economic problem because of the destruction of the Lebanese industries and the infrastructure. In addition, the sector of agriculture is also weak because most of Lebanese citizens living in the rural areas migrated to urban areas to search for a better living. Therefore, the economy of Lebanon majorly depends on the sector of service and banking since Lebanon adopts the banking secrecy. In addition to those difficulties, Lebanon faces political problems and lack of security, which affect negatively the economic situation of the country.

Nowadays, millions of foreign workers come every year to Lebanon and compete with the Lebanese labor by offering their services at a cheaper price. As a result, the labor supply exceeds the demand causing an increase in the rate of unemployment. In addition, most of Lebanese citizens find some jobs unattractive. For example, Nassib Ghobril, head of economic research at Byblos Bank argued that Lebanese citizens usually refuse to work in jobs such as agriculture or construction because of the poor wage compared to other jobs.

In a statistic realized by the World Bank, we find some very dangerous data. This statistic states that the unemployment rate in Lebanon reached 20% because around another 300,000 employees lost their jobs in the last 5 years due to the bad political and economic conditions in the region. It also stated that the percentage of unemployed people could double in 2014 if the Syrian crisis continues.

This shortage of employment opportunities is obliging thousands of Lebanese educated citizens to migrate abroad to find a good job thus flourishing other countries instead of their motherland.

To avoid the brain drain of Lebanese citizens, the Lebanese government should take every step to increase job opportunities such as:

  1. Encouraging foreign investors to open factories in Lebanon by exempting every company located in the rural areas from taxes alongside other benefits, to keep the citizens of the rural areas attached to their lands.
  2. The government should make all its effort to ameliorate the political situation in the country since politics and economy are related to each other. Therefore, the government should take some extreme measures to increase the confidence of the investors.
  3. The government should take measures to decrease the level of corruption in the public and private sectors and to oblige all institutions to adopt meritocracy when recruiting workers.

Will this aim be realized in the future? We never know…

Garen Kodalazian is a regional intern at the World Youth Alliance Middle East.


Sakr, Elias. “Economists: World Bank Unemployment Figure Too Low | Business , Lebanon | THE DAILY STAR.” The Daily Star Newspaper. N.p., 30 Sept. 2013. Web. 03 Jan. 2014. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Business/Lebanon/2013/Sep-30/232988-economists-world-bank-unemployment-figure-too-low.ashx