The Role of Small and Medium Enterprises in Reducing Unemployment Rate in Tulkarm Governorate

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Maher Abu Saleh/supervospr
Dr. Hussen Al-Remawi/external examiner
Dr. Ahmad Hussen/internal examiner
Dr. Maher Abu Saleh/supervospr
Kholoud Raied Yousef Zandiq
The role of both small and medium sized enterprises in any country has proven to be effective in declining the unemployment rate. The primary purpose for conducting this study was the lack of such studies in Palestine, particularly in Tulkarem. Because of this, this study will serve as a reference point for any future studies concerning the role of small and medium sized enterprises in declining unemployment rates. The study aimed at identifying unemployment rates in Palestine and the resulting implications as well as understanding the true state of small and medium sized enterprises in Palestine and specifically in Tulkarem. Moreover, the study also aimed at illustrating the most prominent challenges that might have an impact on the enterprises located in Tulkarem. In order to achieve that, the researcher relied on a random sample of data obtained from the Palestinian Ministry of Economy located in Tulkarem. Divided by the various economic enterprises located in Tulkarem, the research sample included 130 ventures. The governorate was divided into 3 sections; the camps, the city itself, and the surrounding villages. The researcher conducted the descriptive analytical method in order to reflect the study population; she relied not only on questionnaires but also on data provided by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, as well as the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy. The most important findings were the following; first, there was a 4.2% increase in the rate of unemployment in Palestine during the period 2007-2015. This increase was due to the occupation's policy in subordinating the Palestinian economy to the Israeli economy as well as low female labor force participation. Second, according to the data released in 2015, the unemployment rate in Tulkarem was 17.8% which closely resembled the unemployment rate of the West Bank which was at 17.3%. Third, the research sample included 130 ventures which provided jobs for approximately 2266 employees. The increase of the amount of small and medium enterprises led to the increase of job opportunities which in turn declined unemployment rates and increased female labor force participation. Therefore, according to the results of the study, the percentage of female labor force participation was set at 35% whereas the percentage of male labor force participation was 65%. Finally, as reported by business stakeholders, the main dilemma facing enterprises in Tulkarem has always been the frequent closures of crossings and roads by the Israeli occupation. In light of the study’s findings, the researcher suggested the following recommendations: first, to increase government and funders’ support of projects in order to ensure the survival of small and medium sized enterprises in Tulkarem. This can be achieved through the provision of aid, facilities, and the necessary consultation in case of losses or financial crises. Second, awareness needs to be raised about the importance of female labor force participation by changing the traditional view of women as housewives and stressing their active role in declining the unemployment rate while at the same time increasing the household's income. Finally, the media and press should emphasize the importance of small enterprises in decreasing the rate of unemployment, there should be an increase in advertisement for local industries, and their Israeli counterparts should be boycotted.
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