A report issued by the National Bank of Kuwait said that after the population census of Kuwait in 2020 witnessed the highest rate of decline on an annual basis in nearly 30 years (2.2%), the population decreased again by 0.9% from the beginning of the year until the first half of 2021 to reach 4.62 million people, bringing the total rate of decline since the beginning of the pandemic to 3.1%, Al Anbaa reported.
This is due to the decrease in the number of expatriates (-1.8%), while the number of Kuwaiti citizens witnessed a modest growth (+0.9%), and the percentage of expatriates to the total population declined to 68.2%, which is the lowest level recorded in ten years.
The continued implementation of job resettlement policies in government agencies (Kuwaitization), and the weak economic environment due to the pandemic, have forced companies to lay off employees, forcing thousands of expatriate families to leave the country.
The slowdown in the growth rate of the number of Kuwaiti citizens under the age of 15 continues, reaching 0.1% from the beginning of the year until the first half of 2021, compared to 0.6% last year and 1.0% in 2018. Despite this decline, this segment of the population, which numbers about 493,000 citizens, represents more than a third of the population of Kuwaiti citizens.
Which may impose more pressure on the labor market in the future. At the same time, the growth of the number of working-age citizens above the age of 15 remained at strong levels, estimated at 2.4%, on an annual basis, in the first half of 2021.
After the total number of jobs decreased by 4.2% on an annual basis in 2020, it declined Again, by 1.7% on an annual basis in the first half of 2021. This is attributed to the growth in employment of Kuwaiti nationals at a modest pace and the decline in expatriate labor jobs.
The growth in employment rates of Kuwaiti nationals declined from 2.1% in 2020 to 1.3% in the first half of 2020, mainly driven by a decline in employment in the private sector (-1.5% or about 940 citizens).
However, the public sector maintained the pace of employment (+1.8% or about 6,200 citizens), partly due to Kuwaitization efforts. This type of employment will increase the pressure on the budget, as the wage bill alone represents about 60% of total government spending.
On the other hand, the employment of expatriates decreased by 2.2% in the first half of 2021 after a decrease of 5.2% in 2020 on the back of a decline in employment activities in both the public (-2.2%) and private sectors (-2.8%), however, domestic labor jobs was less affected as it decreased by only 1.1% in the first half of 2021.