The unemployment rate among Saudis, during Q2 of 2023, decreased to 8.3%, marking a notable decline from the 9.7% recorded in the corresponding period in 2022.
This development aligns more closely with the ambitious target set by the Saudi government in its “Vision 2030” initiative, which seeks to achieve a 7% unemployment rate in the Kingdom.
Progress in reducing the rate of joblessness in the Kingdom can be traced back to the government’s steadfast commitment to addressing unemployment issues among both Saudi men and women by actively fostering increased job prospects within the local job market.
In Q1 of 2023, the unemployment rate among Saudis stood at 8.5%, but it dropped to 8.3% in Q2 thanks to government programs, initiatives, and decisions aimed at localizing a number of jobs within its labor market reform measures.
The Saudi Human Resources and Social Development Ministry is intensifying its efforts to localize several sectors within the Saudi market.
It is doing so through various initiatives aimed at supporting private sector establishments, which are expected to have a positive impact on unemployment rates for the overall population.
The ministry’s workforce-supporting strategy has played a role in reducing the overall unemployment rates.
Aligning with the Kingdom’s objectives of empowering women and enhancing their economic participation, the ministry'’ efforts have yielded an unprecedented reduction in the unemployment rate among Saudi women in Q2, 2023, reaching 15.7% compared to 19.3% in the same period in 2022.
A recent report by S&P Global showed that labor market reforms in Saudi Arabia have nearly doubled the women’s labor force participation rate in the country from approximately 19% in 2016 to nearly 36% in 2022.
As a result of measures aimed at improving access to the labor market requirements and the effectiveness of policies involving young Saudi talents in various fields, an official report showed that the participation rate in the labor force for the total Saudi population (males and females aged 15 and above) in Q2, 2023, is approximately 51.7%.
This figure remains largely stable compared to 52.4% in the previous quarter.
It is worth noting that Saudi Arabia’s Human Resources Development Fund has contributed to supporting 1.4 million Saudis through training, empowerment, and guidance programs during the first half of 2023.
Approximately 79,000 establishments across various regions of the kingdom have benefited from the fund’s support, with about 95% of these establishments falling under the category of medium, small, and micro-sized enterprises.
Saudi Shura Council member Fadel al-Buainain told Asharq Al-Awsat that fluctuations in the unemployment rate on a quarterly basis are expected due to economic and commercial variables, as well as changes in the labor market.
Buainain believes that such relative fluctuations during a quarter help direct efforts and address any issues if they arise or enhance gains.
He explained that during the current year, the unemployment rate rose to 8.5% in Q1, then decreased to 8.3% in Q2, indicating that there have been corrective measures and improvements within a span of three months.