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May 17, 4:10 AM EDT

Jordan unemployment soars in areas with high refugee influx


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AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- The International Labor Organization says unemployment in areas of Jordan with high concentrations of Syrian refugees rose from 14.5 percent to 22.1 percent between 2011 and 2014.

An ILO study released Sunday looked at three districts that host three-fourths of the 628,000 refugees registered in Jordan.

The official national unemployment rate is 12.9 percent.

Close to 4 million Syrians have fled their country since the start of the conflict in 2011. Most live in neighboring countries.

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees work in low-paying jobs in Jordan, the vast majority without permits.

The ILO recommends that Jordan and Lebanon, which also struggles with rising unemployment, open jobs shunned by locals and filled by migrant workers to formal employment of refugees. That would include jobs in construction and agriculture.

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