Official data from Saudi Arabia, released Thursday, showed that 234,000 foreigners lost their jobs in the private and public sectors during the first quarter of 2018.
The facts were reported by Anadolu Agency’s survey based on the data of the Saudi General Authority for Statistics.
The number of non-Saudi employees fell from 10.42 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2017 to 10.18 million at the end of the first quarter of 2018.
Similarly, the rates of Saudi employees decreased to 3.15 million by the end of the first quarter of this year, compared to 3.16 million in the fourth quarter of last year.
These figures, in fact, stand in stark contrast with the measures taken by the Saudi Kingdom to ‘saudize’ various economic sectors, such as, telecommunications, insurance and driving, and some retail markets.
Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf countries, it is very well known, depend heavily on foreign labour.
According to the General Authority for Statistics, the ratios of private and public sector employees in Saudi Arabia, which were estimated by 13.58 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2017, dropped to reach 13.33 million at the end of the first quarter of the current year.
Nonetheless, the unemployment rate among Saudis in the first quarter of 2018 rose to 12.9 percent compared to 12.8 percent during the fourth quarter of 2017.