78% of Gaza evacuees are out of work

Ministry study is first in a series that will be conducted by the state.

evacuees in hotel 248 88 (photo credit: Courtesy [file])
evacuees in hotel 248 88
(photo credit: Courtesy [file])
Gaza evacuee Nurit Mazabi, 38, hasn't worked since the doors closed at Bedolah's secretariat office, where she had been employed as a secretary. Initially, she thought it would be easy to find a new job. But with each passing month, she grows more discouraged. "Employers want young 19- and 20-year-old women who can work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., not mothers with four children," said Mazabi, who lives in a modular home in Nitzan. So she wasn't surprised by statistics released by the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Employment, showing that 78 percent of Gaza evacuees are out of work. The initial study is the first in a series that will be conducted by the state, tracking the employment levels and absorption of the evacuees. According to the study, whose data was collected three months after the August evacuation, only 21.9% of the 85% who had held salaried jobs prior to the evacuation are currently employed. The study surveyed 600 to 700 families, collecting data on 1,250 wage-earners. From that number, percentages for the 2,300 wage-earners in Gaza were estimated. A separate study is being conducted for the 700 business owners, including those who owned farms. Out of the 78% of Gaza evacuees who are able to work, some 55.6% are unsuccessfully seeking a job. Of this 55.6%, only 27.4% have received job offers. Some 58.3% of those who were offered jobs received one offer, 23.2% were given two offers, 13% had three, and only 5.6% got 4 or more offers. Of those seeking jobs, 86.6% made use of the ministry's services, which have been working to help place the evacuees. Some 59.3% are using newspapers as a resource, 46.5% are directly speaking to possible employers, 20.7% are making use of manpower agencies and 59% are networking through friends. Among the 78% of Gaza evacuees who are out of work, 22.5% are not looking for work at this time. A total of 69% of those currently not seeking employment said they would seek work in the future. The report notes that many of those who are looking for a job are still struggling with issues relating to moving and finding a place to live. There is some cross-over between those who worked but who are choosing not to seek a job at this time, and those who previously didn't work. Of the 15% who chose not to work prior to disengagement, said the study, some 56% are now looking for jobs, while 29% are choosing to remain without one. Mazabi said that she is continuing to look, but that in the interim she is taking classes to learn computer graphics. Emily Amrusi, spokeswoman for the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip accused the government Sunday of not doing enough to help the evacuees. "We would not see such numbers if the state of Israel would put one tenth of the energy into helping the evacuees that it did to pull them out of their homes," said Amrusi. She said that it was misleading to break apart the numbers, as all those who lack jobs, whether they are actively looking for work or not, are unemployed as a result of the disengagement. Instead of focusing on his new Kadima Party, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon should "take responsibility for the families whose futures he destroyed with his own hands," said Amrusi.