Saudi unemployment rate down to 4.4% in Q4 2023
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Saudi unemployment rate down to 4.4% in Q4 2023

Saudi unemployment rate down to 4.4% in Q4 2023

The rate of unemployment, for both Saudi nationals and expats, decreased in the last quarter of 2023 indicating job creation in the economy

Gulf Business

According to the latest data released by Saudi Arabia’s statistics authority, overall unemployment figures for the last quarter of 2023 have reached 4.4 per cent, indicating the strength of the economy.

Additionally, the General Authority for Statistics data indicated that unemployment among Saudi citizens decreased to 7.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, down from 8.6 per cent in the previous quarter, and from 8 per cent in the same period a year earlier.

The overall rate of unemployment, which includes expat labor, fell to 4.4 per cent in the fourth quarter, down from 5.1 per cent in previous quarter and 4.8 per cent in the same period the prior year, according to government data released Thursday.

Unemployment figures

Foreign nationals comprise just over 40 per cent of the kingdom’s total population according to the latest census, the majority of whom need an employment contract to live in the country.

The share of women in the workforce, the employment-to-population ratio increased by 0.6 percentage points to 30.7 per cent. However, the participation rate decreased by 0.4 percentage points to 35.5 per cent, and the unemployment rate decreased by 2.6 percentage points to 13.7 per cent compared to the previous quarter of 2023.

The latest report notes that the Saudi core working age population, defined between 25-54 years of age, saw an increase in the employment-to-population ratio by 0.4 percentage points in Q4 of 2023 reaching 63.2% per cent.

Additionally, for Saudis aged 55 years and over, labour market indicators showed an increase in employment-to-population ratio and labor force participation rate, while the unemployment rate remained stable in Q4/2023, compared to the previous quarter of 2023.


The sectors that employed the most labour in 2023 were:

  • Construction
  • Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles
  • Manufacturing
  • Administrative and service industry
  • Hospitality and Food industry
Economic activities Saudi Non Saudi Total
Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total
 Manufacturing 223,986 120,814 344,800 856,648 9,950 866,598 1,080,634 130,764 1,211,398
 Construction 234,301 149,484 383,785 2,212,999 20,403 2,233,402 2,447,300 169,887 2,617,187
 Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 211,348 200,153 411,501 1,187,830 17,542 1,205,372 1,399,178 217,695 1,616,873
 Transportation and storage 89,295 43,375 132,670 367,810 2,763 370,573 457,105 46,138 503,243
 Accommodation and food service activities 74,330 73,095 147,425 520,380 6,171 526,551 594,710 79,266 673,976
 Administrative and support service activities 120,132 71,762 191,894 793,323 125,723 919,046 913,455 197,485 1,110,940

Source: GOSI; Administrative registers , Labour market 2023 Q4

Non-oil economy

Job creation for Saudi nationals, over 60 per cent of whom are under the age of 30, is a one of the priorities of Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030 programme, which aims to diversify the country’s economy away from the energy sector.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s economy hit a key economic milestone as the non-oil sector activities comprised 50 per cent of the country’s real GDP in 2023.

The non-oil economy, valued at SAR1.7tn (approximately $453bn) at constant prices, has been buoyed by growth in investment, consumer spending, and exports.

Private-sector investment, in particular, has surged by 57 per cent over the past two years, reaching a record high of SAR959bn ($254bn) in 2023.

Read full report: Saudi Arabia hits important economic milestone: Non-oil activities at 50% of GDP

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