By Andy Sambidge
Labour Minister says number of employees last year was 1.5m higher than in 2006.
The number of people employed in the UAE's private sector rose by almost one million during 2008 prior to the start of the global economic slowdown, it was revealed on Sunday.
About four million individuals worked in the private sector in the country last year, half of which were construction workers, said Saqr Saeed Gobash, Minister of Labour, the website of UAE daily Gulf News reported.
Ghobash was speaking at a Dubai Economic Council (DEC) meeting where he said that the number of private sector workers had increased from 2.5 million in 2006, to 3.1 million in 2007 and to 4.07 last year.
Since September 2008, the UAE has seen widespread redundancies following a sharp slowdown in the construction and real estate sectors.
Many major firms in these sectors have been forced into downsizing to help cope with reduced revenues caused by the downturn.
Last month, Ghobash said that the number of expatriate numbers in the UAE could drop due to lower levels of recruitment and job creation in the Gulf state.
A slowdown in the number of workers arriving in the UAE at the same time as a slight rise in those leaving following completion of projects they were brought in to work on was expected, he added.
Recruitment and job creation was expected to continue at lower rates than those in the previous two years, he said in comments first published by news agency WAM.
According to Ghobash, UAE nationals still comprised less than a half of one percent of the total number of workers in the private sector.
That is 2008 before the economic slowdown, what about the figure after the slowdown started?