Unemployment in Saudi Arabia fell slightly in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 12.7 percent, according to latest figures.
Jadwa Investment, citing data from the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) said unemployment had fallen from 12.8 percent in the same period in 2017.
Total youth unemployment (20-24 years old) declined notably, from 42.7 percent in 2017 to 36.6 percent in 2018, it noted.
Jadwa also said that female labour force participation continued to rise, reaching 20.2 percent by the end of 2018, up from 19.4 percent in 2017.
The data also showed that the total number of foreigners in the Saudi labour market declined by around 1.6 million since the start of 2017, with around one million leaving the market during 2018.
Looking at sectorial employment, the data showed that all sectors saw a drop in the number of foreign workers. The largest declines were seen in construction which saw 910,000 foreign and 41,000 Saudi departures, Jadwa said.
At the same time, five sectors saw an increase in the number of Saudi workers during 2018 compared to 2017, it added.
In 2018, the Ministry of Labour, in collaboration with the Human Resource Development Fund, laid out three stages of Saudization relating specifically to the retail sector.
These, added to a number of new initiatives during 2019, are likely to have had a positive impact on the labour market, Jadwa noted.
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