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Unemployment in Qatar Lowest in Mideast: QNB Capital

Middle East : 06 February 2012

Source: The Peninsula

Unemployment in Qatar is the lowest in the Middle East at 0.6 percent. According to QNB Capital, this positive data is mainly a consequence of extremely low unemployment amongst expatriates: very few unemployed expatriates remain in the country as their residence permits are linked to their employment.

But even among Qatari nationals the unemployment rate was low at 3.9 percent in March 2011 thank to the numerous opportunities available both in the public and private sectors.

Qatar’s good position is not shared with all the countries in the region, even if in 2010 no GCC country went beyond the 10 percent unemployment rate of Saudi Arabia, with UAE 6.3 percent, Bahrain four percent and Kuwait three percent. But the situation gets worse if we look at the wider Middle East.

Unemployment continues to be a major concern in the Middle East, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Global Employment Trends 2012. Together with North Africa, the Middle East is one of only two regions in which the aggregate unemployment rate is estimated to exceed 10 percent. And for young people the situation is worse: more than one in every four economically active young people in the Middle East is unemployed according to ILO data.

Unemployment among young people doesn’t only depend on job opportunities and economic growth of the country, but also on the education system. The governments that invest in education ensure that their nationals get the chance of having those skills necessary to meet the requirements of the labour market.

QNB Capital estimates that Qatar spending on education reached 3.2 percent in 2011, one of the highest levels in the GCC. The Qatar National Vision 2030 in fact states that the country will strive to increase the effective labour force participation of its citizens and to build a modern world-class educational system. The National Development Strategy also states that the participation of Qataris in the private sector should be promoted along with incentives to promote on-the-job training.

Reform of education and of the labour market will contribute to reducing future unemployment in Qatar where job opportunities are linked also to the strong investments carried out by the government.

Of course the unemployment rate is in fact also related to the growth rate of a country. According to ILO Global Employment Trends 2012: “Oil-exporting economies, in particular Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have led the region’s economic rebound” with Qatar growing at 18.7 percent in 2011.

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