Saudi unemployment rises as fees pressure expat workers

Jadwa research also says new job roles expected in 2018 as Saudi women get behind the wheel
A general shot of the Saudi capital Riyadh. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Staff writer
Fri 10 Nov 2017 01:50 AM

Unemployment rose slightly in Saudi Arabia to 12.8 percent in the second quarter of 2017, according to new research.

Jadwa Investment said that between Q1 and Q2, the Saudization ratio in the local economy increased from 42.5 percent to 43.1 percent, although this was mainly due to more non-Saudis leaving the local labour market rather than higher employment of Saudis.
   
Looking ahead, Jadwa said it expects to see more declines in net employment of non-Saudis during the second half of 2017 and 2018 due to a combination of both a gradual increase in the expat dependent fees and the implementation of the expat levy.
   
Jadwa added that it also expects the lifting of the ban on women driving, from June 2018 onwards, will help raise female participation and employment rates and create a number of new jobs.

Last month, data on Q2 real GDP showed the Saudi economy contracting by 1 percent, year-on-year. Growth continues to be dragged down by the oil sector (-1.8 percent), as a result of the kingdom’s compliance with OPEC cuts.

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