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Phenix Center Concludes Dialogue Sessions on the Impact of COVD-19 on Youth in the Labor Market

Thursday of last week marked the conclusion of a series of dialogue sessions across different governantes in Jordan, discussing the results of a draft study prepared by Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies on the “Social and Economic Impact of the Coronavirus on the Employment of Young People in Jordan”.

These sessions were organized by Phenix Center in partnership with the Oxfam International as a part of the Youth Participation and Employment Project, within the framework of the Danish-Arab Partnership Program.

Hadeel Al-Qudah, a Research Officer at Phenix Center, presented the key findings of the assessment study conducted by the Center on the socio-economic impacts of the Corona pandemic on youth employment. The study examined post-pandemic variables in the labor market and the most important challenges facing young people in Jordan today.

The study explored opportunities for young people in different sectors and economic activities, the skills needed for young people to be able to enter the labor market in light of the pandemic, and highlighted the impact of the pandemic on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Jordan.

The study noted that the employment of young men and women in Jordan is more concentrated in some specific sectors and economic activities – such as the tourism, transportation and services industries. These sectors were hit particularly badly by the pandemic, and as such many employees within those sectors lost their jobs.  Additionally, all supply chains associated with food markets and restaurants – in which young people tend to be employed – were also harmed by the pandemic. The study also found that response policies implemented during the crisis did not take into account the needs of young people with disabilities.

The dialogue sessions tackled the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on workers in various industries as well as the private sector as a whole, which participants agreed was largely negatively affected. SMEs in particular have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Defense Orders and total lockdowns. SMEs account for 95% of registered businesses in Jordan and provide jobs for an estimated 60% of Jordan’s workforce.

Over 100 participants from the governorates of Madaba, Tafileh, Karak and Balqa attended the dialogue sessions. Participants overwhelmingly stressed the need to allow businesses within the tourism sector to re-open, and recommended restructuring plans for recovery while steering investments towards the tourism sector to provide new opportunities. They also called for existing education policies to be amended to better suit the needs of the labor market.

Participants also drew attention to the need to prepare strategic investment  plans for the agricultural sector. Some participants proposed the use of state treasury lands for cultivation, and increased government support to farmers through financial and technical support – including through management of crop diversity. Some participants also called for the enforcement of the Agricultural Workers Bylaw No. 19 of 2021, which regulates working conditions in the agricultural sector.

The Youth Participation Project aims to enhance the life and technical skills of young people to engage better in society while increasing the capacity of employers and society as a whole to support and provide employment opportunities to youth. The Youth Participation Project also aims to promote dialogue among youth groups, public and private organizations, and businesses.

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