Saudi Arabia’s unemployment rate drops to lowest level since 2008

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s citizen unemployment rate fell in the first quarter of this year to the lowest level since 2008, coinciding with the growth of the Kingdom’s economy, on the impact of the rise in oil prices.

Providing jobs for citizens is the biggest challenge facing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as part of his efforts to reshape the largest Arab economy, gradually get out of the mantle of oil, and import foreign workers.

The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan, adopted by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to reduce the unemployment rate to about 7 per cent by the end of the plan period.

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The unemployment rate declined in the first quarter to 10.1 per cent, compared to 11.7 per cent at the end of the same period last year, according to data issued by the General Authority for Statistics on Thursday.

The rate reached 5.1 percent for male citizens and 20.2 percent for female citizens.

The economy of the Kingdom, the largest oil exporter in the world, grew by 9.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, on an annual basis, the highest quarterly growth rate since 2011, supported by higher oil prices and production quantities, while the non-oil sector – the engine of job creation – achieved 3.7 per cent.

Economy recovery

The continuous decline in the unemployment rate among Saudis, comes with the support of the economy’s continued recovery from the repercussions of the “COVID-19” pandemic, and the Saudi government’s intensification of its efforts to provide job opportunities for citizens through a series of programs and initiatives aimed at attracting citizens to the labor market.

The statement of the Statistics Authority indicated that the unemployment rate for the total population of the Kingdom decreased to 6 per cent by the end of the first quarter, bringing it back to pre-COVID-19 levels, compared to a rate of 6.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2021.

In May 2021, the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched a program called “Developer Nitaqat” with the aim of providing attractive jobs for citizens to increase their participation in the private sector labor market, noting at the time that the program would contribute to providing more than 340,000 jobs for citizens until 2024.

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