The Palestinian economy grew at a healthy 6.1% in the first three quarters of
2012, according to figures released this week by the Palestinian Central Bureau
of Statistics (PCBS), but the outlook for the coming year was plagued with
increased production, which the PCBS said came from construction, retail,
industry and a booming service sector, Palestinian unemployment skyrocketed,
suggesting that the growth was not being enjoyed evenly throughout society. In
the West Bank, unemployment jumped to 19.2%, up from 17.5% a year earlier. In
Gaza, the number soared to 30.6%, a 2.5% increase. All-in-all, Palestinian
unemployment hovered at 23% in the first three quarters of 2012.
Despite some good economic news, uncertainty haunted the forecast
for the coming year. The PCBS outlines a trio of scenarios ranging from an
optimistic 5.5% growth scenario to a stringently pessimistic scenario, entailing
a 14.5% contraction.