The Syrian Economy Lost 2.9 Million Workers Over Six Years

The Syrian workforce has seen a year on year decline since the war started in 2011 writes Al-Watan

Since 2011, the war in Syria has caused the economy to lose more than 2.9 million workers in the public and private sectors up to the end of 2016, with 2.46 million lost from the private sector, or about 66.8 percent of the 2010 workforce, and about 438,000 workers in the public sector — or about 32.2 percent. The private sector in many cases has been forced to dismiss workers in facilities that were destroyed or damaged by acts of terrorism and which have gone out of business. The government has meanwhile not dismissed many workers, with ministries continuing to function despite the wartime conditions, with workers being transferred from hotspots and distributed to government institutions in safe areas. This has made the losses in the public sector significant, and worthy of investigation and study by the relevant authorities.

The total number of workers in 2010 was over 5 million across the two sectors, while the number fell to 2.14 million by the end of 2016, a drop of 57.6 percent, accompanied by a decline of about 69 percent in the gross domestic product (at fixed prices, excluding the effect of inflation). These statistics were recently published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, noting that the number of workers in the public sector does not include the Office of the President, cabinet and the Ministry of Defense.

According to official statistics, the number of workers in 2011 declined to about 4.95 million, a rate of about two percent, from 2010, with 30.1 percent in the public sector and 69.9 percent in the private sector. The number fell again in 2013 to 3.8 million, with 41.5 percent in the public sector and 58.5 percent in the private sector. The decline in the number of workers continued to fall to 3.22 million workers in 2014, a rate of 15.3 percent over the previous year, with 52.3 percent in the public sector and 47.7 percent in the private sector. The reduction continued, with 2.6 million workers recorded in 2015, a rate of about 18.75 over the previous year.

The data for the number of workers in 2016 was derived from the available data collected in 2017, which showed the number of workers in the public sector – about 922,300 – as 43 percent of the total workforce. This means that the private sector has retained 57 percent of workers, which shows a clear recovery over previous years.

In the private sector in 2016, 52.5 percent of workers were self-employed (642,000 workers out of an original 1.22 million), and 6.4 percent being employers (more than 78,200 employers) and 39.9 were wage workers (488,000) and 1.1 percent were working for other without pay (more than 13,400 workers without wage).


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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