Unemployment levels in Saudi Arabia rose to 12.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016, a four-year high, although employment growth remained positive, according to new data from Jadwa Investment.
Its latest research note on the Gulf kingdom's labour market said the overall participation rate rose to a record high, reaching 42 percent, pushed up by higher participation from both Saudi males and females.
Jadwa said during the first three quarters of 2016, total net employment in the kingdom saw a significant rise of 892,000, compared with a 417,000 increase between 2014 and 2015.
However, Jadwa added that 95 percent of these positions went to non-Saudis, a blow to the country's efforts to encourage more locals into the private sector workforce.
Saudi net employment reached 45,500 in the year-to-September, trending further down from a record low of 49,900 recorded between 2015 and 2014.
Jadwa's report also said that within the Saudi labour force, female unemployment rose faster than males, while Saudi youth unemployment rose marginally as well.
Last month, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said youth unemployment in Saudi Arabia is expected to increase from 33.5 percent last year to over 42 percent in 2030 as the Middle East continues to struggle to create enough jobs for its growing population.
It said the private sector in the Middle East and Africa is still "largely underdeveloped to create sufficient formal jobs".For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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