Saudi Arabia’s Expat Exodus Reverses Course as Job Market Booms

Enter a keyword
An exodus of foreign workers from Saudi Arabia started to reverse after a year and a half as the economy recovers from the pandemic and oil prices rally, Bloomberg News reported. The private sector added more than 250,000 jobs for non-Saudis, according to fourth-quarter data released on Wednesday by the kingdom’s General Authority for Statistics. Citizens also benefited, with more than 83,000 jobs added for Saudis in the private sector and nearly 24,000 in government. Unemployment among nationals dropped to 11%, the lowest level since 2009. The jobless rate rose to 22.5% for Saudi women and declined to 5.2% among Saudi men. Job creation is the biggest challenge facing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto leader, as he reshapes an economy dependent on exporting oil and importing foreign labor. The pandemic rattled the labor market, pushing unemployment of citizens above 15%. The government intensified efforts to create jobs for Saudis as the economy rebounded. The prince said in an interview last year that unemployment would fall to 11%, perhaps even reaching 10%, by the end of 2021. Read more.