Unemployment rate in Saudi Arabia lowest since 2008 as economy booms

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Saudi Arabia’s citizen unemployment rate fell to the lowest since 2008 as economic growth surged on the back of higher oil revenue.

Joblessness was at 10.1 percent in the first quarter, down from 11 percent in the final three months of last year.

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The rate reached 5.1 percent for male citizens and 20.2 percent for female citizens, according to data published Thursday by the Kingdom’s General Authority for Statistics.

The economy of the world’s largest crude exporter grew nearly 10 percent in the first quarter, buoyed by higher oil prices and production. The non-oil economy, the engine of job creation, expanded 3.7 percent.

Citizen unemployment peaked at over 15 percent at the height of the pandemic in mid-2020 and has since fallen almost every quarter.

Yet even in a booming job market, the labor participation rate for Saudi citizens fell by 1.4 percentage point from the fourth quarter to 50.1 percent in the first three months of this year.

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