An article published in Annahar newspaper on May 27th 2020 highlighted a study by Information International Sal that attempts to tackle the development of an eminent socio-economic indicator: Lebanese Unemployment (UE). This is a significant indicator, especially as Lebanon continues to fight the impact of its economic fallout since October 2019, coupled with the severe spillovers of the corona virus outbreak since February 2020.
According to the research firm, unemployment estimates are scarce and almost non-existent from official sources. Nevertheless, Lebanon’s CAS (Central Administration of Statistics) had recently published that national UE stood at approximately 11.6% between April 2018 and March 2019. We also note that our BLOMInvest Bank study revealed Lebanese UE averaged 9% from 1990 to 2010, only to double post-2011 (when the Syrian Crisis erupted) to stand at approximately 20%, based on studies by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Bank and the United Nation’s Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs.
In turn, the surveys conducted by Information International indicate that UE in Lebanon pre-October 2019 protests rose to around 25%, which is close to the above figure.
Interestingly, the firm’s study also proposed a worst-case scenario, in which it presents estimates to the number of layoffs per Economic sector in 2020. In details, the research firm expects grave layoff figures in certain sectors (detailed below) if no prompt joint action is taken by the different Lebanese stakeholders. Below are the firm’s estimated job losses highlighted in key sectors:
- Around 10,000 to 15,000Layoffs among private schools and the education sector;
- Around 50,000 employees will be jeopardized as per the report, as a result of the closure of touristic and entertainment sites;
- 20,000 to 25,000 employees may lose their jobs as numerous small enterprises are closed down, amid rising inflation, a weaker lira and slashed demand on non-essential goods.
- 50,000 to 60,000 fresh graduates may become unemployed as international and regional doors are shut in the face of Lebanon amid the deteriorating circumstances.
- Returning expatriates who lost their jobs may constitute a total of 200,000 unemployed persons.
In light of the above, it seems that the Unemployment rate in Lebanon may surpass the 20% to 25% rate estimated pre-October 2019, to exceed 50% with the ongoing corona virus spillovers and the severe economic downturn in the country.
Source: Annahar, Information International
 The research consultancy firm is also known commonly referred to in Arabic, as “الدولية للمعلومات ”.