The unemployment rate among citizens of Saudi Arabia decreased by 0.4 percentage points (pp) to 9.7% in Q2 2022 compared to the previous quarter, according to estimates from the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT).

The labour force participation rate of Saudis increased by 1.7 pp to 51.8%, and the employment-to-population ratio increased by 1.7 pp to 46.8% compared to the last year, GASTAT said.

The unemployment rate decreased among Saudi men by 0.3 pp to 4.7% in Q2 2022. It is down by 1.4 pp compared to the same quarter last year.

"The decrease in the unemployment rate of Saudi males this quarter coincided with both an expansion of labour market participation and employment growth, where the participation rate went up by 1.5pp to 67.5% and the employment-to-population ratio increased by 1.6 pp reaching to 64.3%," GASTAT noted.

The unemployment rate among Saudi women was down by 0.9 pp at 19.3% in the second quarter of the year, compared to the previous quarter. It was down by 3 pp compared to the Q2 2021.

Saudi Arabia is likely to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economies this year as sweeping pro-business reforms and a sharp rise in oil prices and production power recovery from a­ pandemic-induced recession in 2020, the IMF said. Gross domestic product is expected to expand by 7.6%, the fastest growth in almost a decade, according to a recent report from the global fund.

According to the GASTAT, labour market conditions in the kingdom, for men and women of core working age (25-54 years) improved in the second quarter of the year compared to the previous quarter. The unemployment rate fell by 1 pp to 9%.

Among Saudi youth between the age of 15-24, the unemployment rate increased in Q2 of 2022, but this was the result of a significant increase in labour force participation, outpacing employment growth, the GASTAT noted.

For Saudis aged 55 years and over, labour market rates showed minor change in Q2 of 2022, compared to the previous quarter.

The GTSTAT survey revealed that job seekers in Saudi Arabia mostly reached out to friends or relatives (75.3%) for opportunities.

While 56% of job seekers applied directly to employers, 47.6% used the TAQAT platform for different purposes. Two other government platforms, Jadarah and Saad, were used by 41.7% and 7.5% of Saudi job seekers, respectively.

(Reporting by Seban Scaria; editing by Brinda Darasha)