Saudi unemployment down to pre-pandemic levels in Q1 as economy rebounds

 Saudi unemployment down to pre-pandemic levels in Q1 as economy rebounds

Jobseekers stand in line to talk with a recruiter at a booth at a job fair in Riyadh, January 29, 2012. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed/File Photo

DUBAI, June 30 (Reuters) – Unemployment among Saudi citizens dropped to 11.7% in the first quarter of this year from 12.6% at the end of 2020, official data showed on Wednesday, as the economy of the world’s biggest oil exporter picked up after a sharp contraction last year.

Saudi Arabia has been pushing through economic reforms since 2016 to create millions of jobs and aims to reduce unemployment to 7% by 2030, but those plans were disrupted by the coronavirus crisis that sent oil prices plummeting.

Unemployment hit a record high of 15.4% in the second quarter last year.

“In the first quarter of 2021, the overall Saudi unemployment rate decreased to 11.7% compared to 12.6% in the last quarter of 2020, reaching a level below pre-pandemic,” the General Authority for Statistics said on Wednesday.

The…

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