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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH — Unemployment in Saudi Arabia will decline to reach 5.4 percent by the end of the current year, a report in Al Arabiya English said on Tuesday quoting Beltone Financial. The achievement will be supported by higher employment of both Saudis and expatriates in the industrial sector, it said.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry has issued about 124 licenses worth more than SR2 billion in October and November following a government initiative to cover the additional cost of hiring expatriates in all licensed industrial firms, the research wing of the Egyptian asset manager noted in the report.
“Consequently, the number of workers in licensed factories increased by 3,850 in October and by 2,770 in November,” it said.
A General Authority for Statistics report this week showed that the unemployment rate dipped to 5.5 percent in third quarter, its lowest in 3 years, compared to 5.6 percent for the second quarter of the same year.
The results showed a decrease in the unemployment rate for the total Saudi population to 12.0 percent, compared to 12.3 percent for the second quarter of the same year.
It also revealed an increase in the participation rate of the total population, which scored 45.5 percent for the third quarter of 2019, compared to 45 percent for the previous quarter, while the economic participation rate for Saudi women remained at 23.2 percent for both periods.
According to the bulletin, the total number of Saudi workers reached 3,100,812 employees, compared to 3,090,248 in the second quarter.
The Ministry of Civil Service and the Human Resources Development Fund said the total number of Saudis looking for jobs during the third quarter of 2019 was 1,025,328.
Saudi Arabia’s unemployment is a key indicator watched by officials as they try to create jobs for nationals in a private sector dominated by foreign labor. Until now, improvements in employment have continued to lag a rebound in non-oil growth this year. That’s partly a reflection of persistent weaknesses in business confidence, worsened by a string of fiscal reforms such as new taxes and fees.
Joblessness among nationals has held at or above 12% for the past three years, testing the patience of young Saudis entering the labor market. The private sector has continued to shed Saudi jobs even as droves of foreigners have left, pushed out by the weaker economy and official policies that encourage or require businesses to hire locals.
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