You are here

Construction Labor Market System

North and Bekaa
April, 2013

The gradual escalation of civil unrest within Syria has spilled over to the neighboring countries, including Lebanon. The number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is expected to exceed one million by the end of 2013. Tensions between host and refugee populations are expected to rise as competition over jobs and resources becomes even more important to the survival of both communities.

This EMMA assessment was launched to analyze the key market systems upon which refugees and vulnerable host communities rely for income in the North and Bekaa Governorates of Lebanon. The purpose of this study was to identify opportunities for humanitarian agencies to promote market-based income-earning possibilities for host and refugee populations. This report focuses specifically on labor related to the construction of homes and buildings, including hospitals, schools, and public buildings in the affected region.

The Lebanese housing construction industry experienced strong growth during the years prior to the conflict. Investments in the tourism industry by members of the Lebanese diaspora and regional foreign investors helped contribute to this growth. In addition, local investments through remittances and a government-facilitated loan scheme for government employees contributed to new investments in family homes and apartments. The combination of migrant labor and existing skilled and professional Lebanese workers meant that the industry could adequately meet the demand in 2010.

The construction labor market system has been drastically impacted by the crisis in Syria, and income-earning opportunities for refugees and host communities in the construction sector are now very limited. The supply of labor (from refugees, Syrian migrants and Lebanese workers) exceeds the demand, and as a result it is not feasible to promote large-scale construction-oriented livelihood programs.

This report recommends building construction-related livelihood opportunities into existing or planned humanitarian programs, particularly shelter and rehabilitation programs with construction components. It also suggests linking refugees and Lebanese workers with employment services and training. Such recommendations will assist both refugees and vulnerable host community households to earn income and to provide for their immediate needs.

Report authors: 
Not specified
Download Report (1.7 MB pdf)