Saudi’s idle citizens
The Kingdom is aggressively trying to promote education in a bid to limit rising levels of unemployment.
January 21, 2010 1:51 by Aarti Nagraj
Saudi’s labor ministry should close down and allow the Kingdom’s chamber of commerce and industry to deal with the country’s rising unemployment problem, according to Asaad Jawhar, economic analyst at King Abdul Aziz University.
“They [the labor ministry] have presented no solution to a problem that has existed for more than 20 years,” he told Arab News.
While it is almost comical to imagine a labor ministry shutting down, the increasing level of joblessness in the Kingdom is certainly not something to laugh about.
In September last year, on the Kingdom’s National Day, Labor Minister Ghazi al-Gosaibi said his ministry had brought down the unemployment rate from 11.2 percent to 9.8 percent. However, earlier this month, deputy Labor Minister Abdul Wahid al-Humaid told Arabic daily Al-Watan that the official unemployment rate for Saudi men stood at 10 percent, and for Saudi women, at 27 percent. “We have found jobs for 142,318 Saudis in private companies last year,” he said.
But the true rate of unemployment could be much higher, according to other estimates.
A report from Banque Saudi Fransi in January claimed that thanks to minimal growth in the Saudi economy last year, unemployment in the Kingdom reached 15.2 percent.
In December last year, a report published by the Arab League and the United Nations Development Program (UNPD) put the rate at 26 percent-the highest in the GCC. The report said that if unemployment in the Arab region worsened, and it failed to produce 51 million jobs within the next 20 years, “its entire social fabric may be jeopardized.”