Unemployment in Saudi Arabia down to 8.6 pct in Q3 2023 from 9.9 pct in 2022

Unemployment for Saudi citizens rose slightly to 8.6 percent in the third quarter, up from 8.3 percent in the previous quarter, but still lower than the 9.9 percent recorded in the same period a year ago, data published on Thursday showed.

The overall unemployment rate – which includes foreign nationals – reached 5.1 percent, up from 4.9 percent in the second quarter, data from the General Authority for Statistics showed.

Foreign nationals make up just over 40 percent of the total population according to the latest census, the majority of whom need an employment contract to live in the country.

Unemployment remains at 13.6 percent for males and 25.3 percent for females among Saudis aged 15 to 24, with total youth unemployment at 17.4 percent, up from 17 percent in the previous quarter, the data showed.

Total Saudi unemployment for citizens between the ages of 24 and 54 was 7.9 percent, a small rise from 7.5 percent in the previous quarter.

More than 60 percent of Saudi citizens are under the age of thirty, and job creation has been a key tenet of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030, which seeks to stimulate the economy and diversify it away from oil.

As part of the drive to decrease the dependence on expatriate labor, the government has implemented a “Saudization” program where companies are required to employ certain quotas of Saudi nationals.

The overall labor market participation rate for Saudi citizens decreased slightly to 51.6 percent from 51.7 percent in Q2, and fell from 52.5 percent in Q3 of 2023.

Unemployment for Saudi women increased to 16.3 percent, up from 15.7 percent in Q2, though still lower the previous year’s 20.5 percent in Q3.

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