H.E. Dr. Ola Awad, President of Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), highlights certain Key Statistical Indicators in Palestine for the year 2020 on the anniversary of World Statistics Day 20/10/2020
Under the theme "Connecting the world with data that we can trust", the world celebrates World Statistics Day amid a joint challenge facing all of its countries, the Covid 19 Pandemic. The entire world is harnessing its full potential and power to face this pandemic and perhaps, the availability and exchange of reliable data in such times may serve as a defensive wall and invincible armor in the hands of humanity in order to provide protection against such an invisible pandemic and fight it together.
In the midst of the repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic that have cast their dark shadows over all components of the Palestinian society, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) worked through the emergency conditions with all its available power and capabilities. Hence, PCBS has not spared any effort to serve the Palestinian community, out of its absolute belief in the importance of the statistical number and its vital role particularly in times of crisis and distress. To that end, PCBS has relied on its available IT infrastructure in order to ensure achieving all its statistical outputs according to the official statistical program. Thus, main statistical surveys were carried out, most important of which were the price indices and labour force surveys, which were conducted via telephone and through using PC tablets on which aerial maps were uploaded.
Accordingly, PCBS issued economic forecasts for the most important economic indicators to monitor the possible impact on the Palestinian economy. PCBS also conducted specialized field surveys designed to measure the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on establishments and its social impact on households. It also launched a website that sheds light on the most prominent statistical data and outputs resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic, and enabled an automated answer/response system designed to answer the inquires of PCBS website and Facebook Messenger visitors. These services were provided in Arabic and English for the public (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) in an interactive way.
An overview of the Palestinian society in 2020 during the Coronavirus Pandemic
The number of employed individuals decreased from one million employees in the first quarter of 2020 to 889 thousand in the second quarter of 2020.
More than a quarter of the participants in the labour force were unemployed in the second quarter of 2020.
27% is the unemployment rate among labour force participants (15 years and above) in the second quarter of 2020. Yet, the disparity in unemployment rate is still large between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as this rate has reached 49% in the Gaza Strip as opposed to 15% in the West Bank. The number of unemployed persons reached 321,400 in the second quarter of 2020; of which 203,200 unemployed persons lived in the Gaza Strip and 118,200 in the West Bank.
One out of every 4 individuals suffered from "multidimensional poverty" in Palestine prior to the Coronavirus pandemic
24.0% of individuals suffered from "multidimensional" poverty in Palestine prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, whereas nearly 29% of individuals suffered from monetary poverty, which means that poverty in the State of Palestine is linked and mainly driven by "monetary" poverty.
One out of every 6 main income earners (17%) stopped working during the lockdown period.
About half of main income earners did not receive their wages/salaries during the lockdown period.
52% of main income earners did not receive their wages/salaries during the lockdown period, 23% of them received their wages as usual, while 25% of them received their wages/salaries partially.
Participation in Remote/Online Educational activities
51% of households in Palestine with children in the age group (6-18 years) who were enrolled in education before the lockdown period had their children participate in educational activities during the lockdown; (53% in the West Bank and 49% in Gaza Strip). In addition, there is a clear variation between the different governorates in terms of students' participation.
Children of about half of the households were deprived from participating in remote education due to unavailability of Internet.
49% of households pointed out that the unavailability of an internet connection in the household prevented their children from participating in the educational activities during the lockdown period. Other important reasons were: Teachers did not perform/conduct any educational activities at a rate of (22%), 13% of the students did not participate due to the fact that the child him/herself did not want to carry out nor perform educational activities, and 6.3% of students failed to participate in online education due to the inability of parents to perform educational activities.
Two out of every five households evaluated the remote/online education experience as being bad and did not fulfill the desired task.
40% of households, whose childern partcipated in any types of educational activities during the lockdown period, have evaluted the experience as being bad and not fulfilling the desired task. However, 39% of them have evaluted it as being good and fullfilling the desired task, but there was room for enhacing the experience, whereas 21% of them evaluted this experince as being good and fulfilling the desired task.
Challenges that faced Palestinian households regarding food security
42% of Palestinian households’ income declined to a half or more during the lockdown period compared to February 2020 (46% in the West Bank and 38% in Gaza Strip).
Monthly expenditures on food supplies declined for 41% of the total Palestinian households during the lockdown.
61% of the households were worried about not having enough food, while 57% of households are having a less diversified diet.
47% of households did not have the ability to eat healthy and nutritious types of food.
Households’ priorities of assistances required from government; according to their perspective
USD 2.5 billion are the Palestinian economy losses in 2020 compared to the previous year
One of the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic is the decline of the per capita gross domestic product, as per capita GDP is expected to decrease by 15.6% in 2020 compared to 2019 to reach USD 2,840.3.
A decrease in the demand on constructions during the Coronavirus pandemic
There was a sharp decrease in the number of building licenses by 45% in Palestine during the second quarter of 2020 during the pandemic. The number of new building licenses decreased by 48% in the second quarter of 2020 and decreased by 40% compared with the second quarter of 2019.
A decrease in the industrial production as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic
The Industrial Production Index decreased by 6.17% during the first quarter of 2020. It also continued to decrease, reaching 2.52% during the second quarter of 2020
A decline in consumer price levels during the first three quarters of 2020
The Consumer Price Index in Palestine showed a decrease at the general price level during the first three quarters of 2020. The peak of such decline in the consumer price level was in the second quarter of 2020 at a rate of 1.18% compared to the first quarter of 2020. Furthermore, the general price level, for both the second and third quarters of 2020, decreased by 1.51% and 2.03%, respectively, compared with the corresponding quarters of the previous year.
The tourism sector losses exceeded USD 1 billion due to the Coronavirus pandemic
Preliminary estimates indicated a decrease in the expenditure of inbound tourism to Palestine by 68% compared to 2019, reaching an amount of USD 466 million.