Lowest ‘unemployment’ among Kuwaitis since 2016

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Kuwait population up by 1.8pc

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 27: A report issued by the National Bank of Kuwait said that the population of Kuwait increased by 1.8% as of June 2022 compared to the end of 2021, while this is the first increase recorded at the level of citizens and expatriates, alike, since 2019, reports Al-Qabas daily. The expatriate population was still much less than levels recorded in the pre-pandemic period, but it witnessed a rise in the first half of the year in light of the resumption of economic activities in labor-intensive sectors and the increase in the need for domestic workers.

The report added that the employment rates of Kuwaiti nationals witnessed a sharp increase during the past year, thanks to the increase in job opportunities provided by the private sector. Despite the decrease in the unemployment rate among Kuwaiti citizens to about 5.2%, which is the lowest recorded level since 2016, the continued increase in job opportunities supported by economic growth is one of the most essential matters to accommodate the increasing numbers of new entrants into the labor market. The report indicated that the population of Kuwait took a different path in the first half of 2022, but it was still lower by 3.5%, on an annual basis.

The growth rate of the number of Kuwaitis has remained unchanged at the level of 2% on an annual basis over the past two and a half years while the number of expatriates increased again by 2.3% in the first half of 2022, it is still significantly lower on an annual basis and 11.4% lower than the peak levels recorded in 2019, a decrease of 382,000, according to the latest data issued by Public Authority for Civil Information.

The NBK reported that the overall rate of employment (excluding domestic workers) decreased by 5.9% on an annual basis in June 2022, driven largely by the decline in non-Kuwaiti jobs (-9 percent). In contrast, jobs held by Kuwaiti citizens increased by 6.1%, which is the strongest growth rate since 2011. The proportion of Kuwaiti citizens jumped from the total rate (excluding domestic workers) to 23.4% compared to 18.7% in 2019.

The report indicated that the numbers of the Indian community recorded the largest decline by 15%, on an annual basis, (-153 thousand people), followed by the Egyptians (-9%, -58 thousand people) in 2021 as a result, the proportion of Indians in the total number of people decreased to 19% compared to 22% in 2019, while the percentage of Egyptians decreased from 15% to 14% of the total population of Kuwait during the same period. Despite the noticeable decrease in the number of expatriates compared to 2019, the number of their family members increased by 3.5%, which may indicate that most of the people who left the country during the past two and a half years were among the category of low-paid workers, who do not have families living with them in Kuwait.

NBK said that the number of jobs for Kuwaiti citizens increased during the twelve months ending in June 2022 by about 26 thousand jobs to reach 449,000, supported by employment in the private sector, which came first, adding 13.6 thousand jobs compared to 12.3 thousand jobs added by the public sector. This was the first time that the private sector added more jobs than the public sector since 2013. On the other hand, the number of unemployed Kuwaiti nationals decreased to 24,000 citizens (-26% on an annual basis) to reach the lowest level since December 2017. This brings the unemployment rate for Kuwaiti citizens to 5.2%. According to the report, the rate of Kuwaiti women’s participation in the workforce has witnessed a steady increase, rising from 48% in 2010 to 51% in the first half of 2022.

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