Jordan is a largely industrial country. Unlike many other Middle Eastern countries, it has no oil. However, it does have important sources of potash and phosphate, which are used to make fertilizer. Construction, particularly in the East Bank area, has experienced a boom because of the large number of Palestinian refugees looking for housing. Shipping, through the port of Aqaba, keeps Jordan supplied with various goods.

Because less than 10% of Jordan's land is arable, agriculture is a small part of the economy. Agriculture is made possible by extensive irrigation schemes and the technique of growing food in greenhouses or under plastic sheeting to conserve moisture. Farmers grow wheat, barley, tobacco, beans, and some fruit. Many also raise sheep and goats.

Tourism is being extensively promoted. Jordan has ancient archaeological sites and modern resorts. The rock city of Petra and the Roman ruins at Jerash and Amman are particularly famous, but tourists can also visit Islamic and Crusaders' castles, Christian cathedrals, and the remains of Nabataean cities.The port of Aqaba is a resort where tourists can enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling. Rock climbing in the Wadi Rum area is also popular.
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Jordanian women are encouraged to further their education and pursue careers. Most working women are employed in government offices, banks, schools, or hospitals.

Unemployment is a problem in Jordan, especially for professionals. The Gulf War of 1991, when the United States and its allies fought Iraq in Kuwait, was particularly hard on the country. Because Jordan supported Iraq in the war, Jordanians who were working in Kuwait had to leave. Many could not find jobs when they returned to Jordan. A large number of Jordanians currently work in other Gulf countries or overseas, sending money home to support their families.