Employment rates of Kuwaiti nationals witnessed a sharp increase during the past year, thanks to the increase in job opportunities provided by the private sector. The number of jobs for Kuwaiti citizens increased during the twelve months ending in June 2022 by about 26,000 jobs to reach 449,000, supported by 13,600 new jobs in the private sector, compared to 12,300 jobs provided by the public sector.This was the first time that the private sector was adding more jobs than the public sector since 2013. Meanwhile, the country’s population witnessed a spurt in numbers — the first such increase since 2019.
The data and analysis of employment figures and on the population, are from a new economic analysis report by the National Bank of Kuwait, the nation’s largest commercial lender. The NBK report also noted that the overall rate of employment (excluding domestic workers) decreased by 5.9 percent on an annual basis in June 2022, driven largely by the decline in non-Kuwaiti jobs (-9 percent).
In contrast, jobs held by Kuwaiti citizens increased by 6.1 percent, which was the strongest growth rate registered since 2011. As a result, the proportion of Kuwaiti citizens in the total labor pool (excluding domestic workers) jumped to 23.4 percent compared to 18.7 percent in 2019.
The report indicated that the numbers of the Indian community recorded the largest decline by 15 percent, on an annual basis, (-153,000 people), followed by the Egyptians with a fall of 9 percent (58,000 people) in 2021. As a result of this decline, the proportion of Indians in the total population decreased to 19 percent, compared to 22 percent in 2019, while the percentage of Egyptians decreased from 15 percent to 14 percent of the total population of Kuwait during the same period.
Despite the noticeable decrease in the number of expatriates compared to 2019, the number of their family members increased by 3.5 percent, which may indicate that most of the people who left the country during the past two and a half years were among the category of low-paid workers, who do not have families living with them in Kuwait.
On the other hand, the number of unemployed Kuwaiti nationals decreased to 24,000 citizens to reach the lowest level since December 2017, bringing the unemployment rate among Kuwaiti citizens to 5.2 percent. According to the NBK report, the rate of Kuwaiti women’s participation in the workforce has witnessed a steady increase over the past decade, rising from 48 percent in 2010 to 51 percent in the first half of 2022.
The report emphasized that despite the decrease in the unemployment rate among Kuwaiti citizens to about 5.2 percent, a continued increase in job opportunities supported by economic growth would be critical so as to accommodate the increase in numbers of new entrants into the labor market.
The NBK report also provided the latest figures on the population in Kuwait, based on data from the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI). The bank’s analysis of the country’s population structure noted that the number of people increased by 1.8 percent as of June 2022 compared to the end of 2021. This was the first increase recorded at the level of citizens and expatriates, alike, since 2019.
Although, the resumption of economic activities in labor-intensive sectors and the increase in need for more domestic helpers, led to an increase in expatriates in the first half of 2022, the expatriate population was 11.4 percent lower, a drop of 382,000 expats, than the peak levels recorded in pre-pandemic 2019.
The report also indicated that while the growth rate of the number of Kuwaitis has remained unchanged at the level of 2 percent on an annual basis over the past two and a half years, the number of expatriates increased again by 2.3 percent in the first half of 2022.