DUBAI (Reuters): Joblessness among citizens in Saudi Arabia declined to 8.3% in the second quarter, down from 8.5 per cent in the previous quarter and 9.7pc in the same period a year ago, official data published on Thursday showed.
The overall rate of unemployment – which includes foreign nationals – stood at 4.9pc in Q2, down from 5.8pc in the prior year period, data from General Authority for Statistics showed.
Foreign nationals comprise just over 40pc of the kingdom’s total population according to the latest census, the majority of whom need an employment contract to live there.
The unemployment rate for female citizens – who have seen certain freedoms expanded under the crown prince – fell to 15.7pc, from 19.3pc a year ago, although the jobless rate among males remained almost the same from last year and stood at 4.6pc in Q2.
The overall labour market participation rate for Saudi citizens remained consistent year-on-year at 51.7pc in Q2 versus 51.8pc in Q2/2022.
Job creation for Saudi nationals, over 60pc of whom are under the age of 30, is a key part of the ambitious economic agenda known as Vision 2030, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify away from oil.
As part of the wide-ranging strategy, the government has invested in initiatives to expand the private sector, build up local industry and open up the country to tourism and business.