Shatha Khalil *
The phenomenon of unemployment in Iraq is a problem and an economic and social scourge , that it disrupts human capacities, and the opportunities for growth and economic well-being, and cause the deficit in the socio-economic structures of the country.
And its danger has been increased in Iraq because of the devastation caused by the continuing wars, the economic blockade in the eighties and nineties, and sectarian quotas, which requires work to address them and put solutions that reduce the impact of it in all aspects of life to improve the economy and keep pace with global development and adapt to the conditions of competition and globalization.
Economists argue that unemployment has many effects on countries in terms of their different economic systems (capitalism-socialism). They agree that it is the compulsory or voluntary cessation of part of the labor force in the economy from work, with the desire and ability to work. The labor force means the category capable and willing to work with the exclusion of children, the disabled and the elderly. In most countries of the world, the working age is limited to 15-65 years.
Resulting in a lot of social problems that occur in society as a result of its existence and these effects include crimes, extremism and deviation that the emergence and spread of it is associated with unemployment.
Unemployment is an increase in the number of people looking for employment on the job opportunities offered by society in its various institutions. The unemployed are those who do not have a work and capable to do it looking for it and don’t find it. Unemployed people feel social marginalization that causes them social and social damage.
All international laws, charters and conventions respect the natural right of the human being to guarantee a job opportunity. However, the disaster of unemployment has hit large and important sectors in the country, among the categories of those capable of working and qualified for it, of all ages and in all fields and disciplines.
Unemployment in Iraq has reached an unprecedented level, despite its vast oil wealth and abundant agricultural land.
More than 45,000 graduates of universities and institutes of technical qualifications in 2017 have suffered and are still suffering from unemployment in addition to the number of graduates pf previous years who have not found a job noting that the number of students who have been accepted in the universities for the year 2016-2017 have reached an average of 1212,285 students , and the number of pupils and pre-university students amounted to about 9 million, and the current numbers are likely to rise.
Unemployment has a negative impact on the Iraqi economy. It has a decline in income, which leads to a deterioration in purchasing power, a complete decline in the economy and a slowdown in development, which means the loss of more jobs and job opportunities and the pumping new groups of the unemployed and the breadth of the crisis and the aggravation of its results.
Types of the unemployment:
* Fractional unemployment: It is the lack of some of the skills of manpower to the nature of technology at a given time, because of the rapid development and technical progress and such type of unemployment is probably short-term as it takes only time to enter these categories of labor in Vocational training courses to acquire the necessary skills to re-engage in economic activity.
Structural unemployment: it is dependent on the magnitude of the impact of friction unemployment. When these causes of frictional unemployment are sustained and increased, there is structural unemployment affecting the economic structure. Unemployment in Iraq emerged at the end of the 1980s after the end of the war with Iran as large number of military forces have been released that the Iraqi economy was not able to absorb them at once.
* Compulsory unemployment: It is related to unemployed individuals who are looking for work by the prevailing wage and do not find it and this type is the most severe types of unemployment, where most of the groups are forced to migrate outside their countries to look for jobs and there is voluntary unemployment in which individuals are forced to leave work , where there are jobs and wages suitable but have no desire to work.
And emerged during the nineties with the imposition of the state of siege on Iraq and most of its sectors stopped working, which increased unemployment rates, especially in the sectors of oil and agriculture and the public services sector.
* Masked unemployment: a situation of the accumulation of a large number of workers in excess of the real need for work, which means the presence of redundant labor or excess production, is zero, and this type is prevalent in most of the institutions of the public sector in Iraq.
Unemployment in Iraq in Figures
According to the Ministry of Planning 2017 the number of people of Iraq amounted more than 37 million people with an annual growth of 2.61% (more than 3%) ,. An increase of 812,741 new citizens per year. According to the United Nations, Iraq is one of the most youthful countries in the world. This means that the labor force is available. Unemployment works to destroy society socially and economically where about 59% of the population is under 19 years of age. The high rate of the unemployment hit the youth of the age (15-24 years), where it rises to 18%, and perhaps more.
The UN says the unemployment rate is 11 percent (another estimates are 16 percent and more) of the work power estimated by 7.9 million people.
The number of unemployed stood at 653,000, which is the number of registered, not including non-registered, which will double the numbers. There is chaos in statistics and information, and inaccuracy.
The Iraqi state provides about 40% of the work and the rest is provided by the private sector, but it is not yet the level required to accommodate those who are of working age and those who wish to, and this means that there are not enough funds for the public sector to allow the implementation of projects and investments, to absorb more employment.
The Iraqi economy depends on the oil sector, which is the main foundation and the basis of the economy of the country and the economy is still Rentier so the public and private sectors will be unable to move the real sectors of agriculture, industry, service, trade, tourism and investment. It is the only hope to absorb the current unemployment and absorb the new ones.
And unless it is dealt with in a radical way, the path of real sectors will remain elusive because of the disability of the financial and executive public sector and the private sector should take its real role and overcome obstacles, difficulties, prevailing mentalities, outdated legislation, the negative environment, the daily procedures of the constituencies and their representatives, and dealing with the private sector and stakeholders in a proper and civilized manner to participate in building the country and eliminating unemployment.
Unemployment in Kurdistan
A report by the Organization for Peace and Freedom in cooperation with the Norwegian People’s Relief Organization revealed that the unemployment rate in the Kurdistan region and Iraq is about 25% in 2017, and the largest percentage of unemployment among the graduates of institutes, universities and secondary schools , the lowest proportion recorded in the non-holders of certificates.
Causes of unemployment in Iraq:
The main reasons that led to the aggravation of the problem of unemployment in Iraq, the expulsion of foreign and national capitals and investments are the political instability, security deterioration, the spread of crime, the absence of proper scientific economic planning, the siege and wars, the quotas and extremism, the terrorist attacks of ISIS and the exposure of the country to security, military, political, economic and social crisis
The problem of unemployment in the Iraqi economy of the complex problems where many of the causes are involved , and the repercussions affect the economy, politics and societal aspects , and the reasons:
– The failure of development programs and attention to the social aspect to the appropriate extent and the decline in economic performance, the ability of laws to stimulate investment and provide employment opportunities adequately and the decline of the role of the state in creating job opportunities in state institutions and public utilities and gradually withdraw from the field of production and weak role of the private sector.
– The wars that Iraq has fought during the past three decades and the subsequent economic siege, low level of production and development to the lowest level and directing national income towards the requirements of war.
– System of quotas (based on criteria of belonging) and currently in place in the organs of the state, which reflected negatively on the labor force and led to the aggravation of the unemployment crisis and increase the number of unemployed.
– The structural imbalances suffered by the Iraqi economy, it is closest to the service economy (if we exclude the oil sector), as the contribution of the services sector in the gross domestic product up to about (22%), while the contribution of the industrial sector in GDP (1.5%). The contribution of the agricultural sector does not exceed (6.5%). The contribution of the oil sector in the GDP reaches 70%, which does not contribute to the components of the operation of the Iraqi labor force except at a low rate that does not exceed at best. 2%), which means that (98%) of the labor force exists in the sectors do not exceed their contribution to the (30%). Therefore, the dominance of the marginal services sector in the components of economic activity has negative effects on the composition of the Iraqi labor market, and the ability to employ and productive use where fifty percent of the workers in the services sector work in marginal services (poor productivity) and are among the unemployment classifications in the labor market and even the income they receive, which is marginal income (below the poverty line).
– Operational policy in Iraq, which is still below the level of support provided by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to develop the social partnership in our country in the form of solidarity to expand national constructions, attract foreign capital and create effective employment opportunities, to reduce poverty and combat unemployment and the implementation of training and rehabilitation programs for the workforce and activate the Iraqi labor market and the diversification of skills in line with the demand for production forces, and the modernization of national labor legislation in line with international experiences and international labor standards.
– The increase in the population in Iraq, the lack of effective programs to deal with unemployment and positive control of the number of new entrants to the labor market, the breakdown in the appointment of graduates, the decline in educational planning and the low link of educational institutions to the labor market and the inability of the private sector to absorb unemployment led to the rise of the unemployment rate .
– The prevalence of financial and administrative corruption in some state institutions, which leads to weak development opportunities and reduced employment opportunities.
Under the plans of the Iraqi government under the guidance of Prime Minister Haider Abadi in the fight against unemployment, it was allocated more than 700 billion dinars to support the strategy to alleviate poverty.
– The large number of displaced people who lost their jobs and became unemployed and increased the unemployment rate.
It is clear from the foregoing that unemployment in all its ugly forms is in fact a bad model of wasteful and excessive waste of active human resources, which is the most harmful negative phenomenon for the individual and the society and the state alike, which puts it at the forefront of all national programs and plans and activating the role of the private sector , and accelerate the reconstruction of the economic sectors and infrastructure destroyed by the war, which will create new jobs that contribute to the withdrawal or employment of the unemployed, especially young people.
And to provide the appropriate and suitable climate for domestic and foreign investment, which increases investment opportunities and employment with a focus on directing investment to industries that provide real jobs and to promote society and work to rehabilitate the national economy and create the necessary premises for sustainable development and to address our chronic dilemmas seriously and firmly.
it is worth to be noted that working against unemployment, reducing unemployment and reducing its rates to relatively acceptable levels in accordance with established international standards takes a period of time , not short , supported by sincere, determined and continuous efforts, especially Iraq is going through a difficult phase , a stage of transition to globalization, market economy and political pluralism.
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies