Arif Al Mehairi:

  • Unbroken upward trend in economic participation, which increased to 83.2% in 2018
  • Survey conducted according to globally-recognized ILO criteria and recommendations

Government of Dubai Media Office:   Dubai’s unemployment rate reached 0.5 per cent last year, while the refined economic participation rate as a percentage of total working-age population reached 83.2 per cent, according to the Labour Force Survey 2018 published by Dubai Statistics Center.

Arif Al Mehairi, Executive Director of Dubai Statistics Center, said: “The results of the Labour Force Survey 2018 illustrate the flexibility and strength of Dubai’s economy as it continues to record the lowest rates of unemployment in the world and one of the highest rates in economic participation.”

He added: “The Labour Force Survey is one of the key annual strategic statistical projects of the emirate. It is an important source of information for decision makers, policy makers, planners and labour market researchers. Carried out in accordance with the latest methodologies and standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Survey seeks to identify the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of employed and unemployed Emiratis and Non-Emiratis residing in Dubai.”

“The survey has used the latest technologies and smart geospatial tools to infer the data from a representative sample of 3,000 households in Dubai. The sample included 1,500 Emirati households and 1,500 non-Emirati households distributed across various Dubai communities,” Al Mehairi stated. 


Revealing details of the unemployment rate of Emiratis residing in Dubai, Al Mehairi said, "The rate increased by over one percentage point between 2016 and 2018, rising from 2.9 per cent in 2016 to 3.4 per cent in 2017, and 4.0 per cent in 2018. The unemployment rate of Emirati males increased by 0.7 percentage points between 2016 and 2018, rising from 2 per cent in 2016 to 2.6 per cent in 2017, and 2.7 per cent in 2018 while that of Emirati females increased by double percentage compared to Emirati males. Such a rate is attributed to the fact that Emirati females prefer to work in the government sector and in certain jobs and professions.”

 The survey results show that half of the Emiratis of working-age are involved actively in economic activities. Emirati males had a higher economic participation rate of 62.6 per cent while the corresponding figure for Emirati females was 36.5 per cent. The rates, which are calculated based on the revised/ net participation rate in labour force divided by the total working-age population, provide a clear picture of the increasing economic participation of Emirati males and females.


On the issue of unemployment rate among non-Emiratis residing in Dubai, the rate remained below 0.5 per cent between 2016 and 2018 with male non-Emiratis having an unemployment rate of 0.2% and females 1.0%. Al Mehairi attributed such low rates to the constructive policies, which grant residency visas to employees, investors, students and persons of equivalent status with the condition that persons of working-age will not be allowed to stay in the UAE without a job.

The refined rates of economic participation of working-age non-Emiratis residing in Dubai rose to 85.5 per cent in 2018 (96.9% males compared to 55.9% females). Results showed the stability of the refined rates of economic participation of non-Emirati males and females over the past three years (2016-2018). 

Employed Emiratis

According to the survey, 2,242,363 people were employed in the emirate last year out of which 81.3 per cent were males while 18.7 per cent were females.

The number of Emiratis employed and residing in Dubai went up by the end of 2018 to 82,630 compared to 75,856 by the end of 2016, which marks an increase of 6,774 employed Emiratis over the past three years, and an increase of employed Emiratis by 8.9 per cent in 2018 compared to 2016.


Al Mehairi indicated that the total unemployed persons residing in Dubai was 10,468 in 2018. Figures show that the number of the unemployed increased by 2,893 from 2016 to 2018.

Al Mehairi expressed his gratitude and appreciation to all the families that participated in the Labour Force Survey 2018 for their cooperation and contribution to the Survey, which supports the development planning process of Dubai. He emphasized that all the detailed results can be accessed through various platforms where official statistical data are published, DSC’s smart application, website and hotline.

– Ends–

© Press Release 2019

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