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Issues and traps in labor statistics in the Arab World with a special focus on informal labor

Data and statistics on labor and employment in the Arab trade unions’ literature are abundant. However, much of them are marred by issues that do not help towards clarifying the nature of the mainstream labor relations in the Arab world, nor do they contribute towards advancing collective bargaining or the struggle to achieve economic and social rights of male and female workers, let alone their basic human rights sometimes.
This paper aims to shed light on the key issues and traps that labor statistical terms present so as to warn against their misuse by governments, employers or international organizations and to help trade unions further focus their efforts and struggles. This is all the more important given that Arab countries are going through a unique phase that is characterized by the advent of a youth wave that swells the ranks of the workforce every year, the growing pace of migration from rural to urban areas, the importation of large numbers of Asian workers and a systematic management of informality and the lack of labor rights. Thus, informal employment has become the dominant form of labor relations, even outside the agricultural sector.

Issues and traps of Arab Labor statistics

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