Positives Seen in Latest Saudi Government Labor Market Data as Vision 2030 Reforms Take Hold

Saudi Arabia’s workforce saw an increase in female participation and a slight decline in unemployment, according latest data on the Saudi labor revealed in a Jadwa Investment report.

The General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) labor market release for Q3 2018 shows that unemployment declined slightly to 12.8 percent, from 12.9 percent in the previous two quarters, while female labor force participation continued to rise, reaching 19.7 percent in Q3 2018, up from 17.8 percent during the same time a year ago, Jadwa notes.

Unemployment rates in Saudi Arabia. Graphic by Jadwa Investment, data from General Authority for Statistics.

Unemployment rates in Saudi Arabia. Graphic by Jadwa Investment, data from General Authority for Statistics.

Both male and female unemployment rates were down during Q3, with total youth unemployment (20-24 years old) declining as well, to 38.8 percent from 41.7 percent in Q2 2018.

Increasing female participation in the workforce is a goal of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic and social reform plan. Women recently gained greater freedoms in the Kingdom, including the right to drive, making their entry into the workforce easier.

Meanwhile, foreign labor in Saudi Arabia continues to decline drastically as reforms kick in. The total number of foreigners in the Saudi labor market declined by around 1.4 million since the start of 2017, with 265,000 leaving the market during Q3 2018 alone.

[Click here to read the full report from Jadwa Investment] [In Arabic]