The kingdom said the four-time delay was needed to validate data collected from 33,000 households during the coronavirus pandemic.
Saudi Arabia has four times delayed the release of closely watched data on citizen unemployment amid political sensitivity over an unemployment rate that has reached the highest level on record last year.
The kingdom’s third quarter 2020 labor market report was due for release in late December, but was repeatedly postponed before officials simply removed the release date from the Saudi Statistical Authority’s website, claiming that they needed more time “because of the importance of the target period.”
The delay was necessary to ensure that data collected from 33,000 households during a period of coronavirus restrictions met the authority’s standards, she said in a statement on her website.
Creating enough jobs for the kingdom’s young population is one of the biggest challenges facing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as he tries to diversify the economy of the world’s largest crude exporter. It aims to reduce citizen unemployment to 7% by 2030, but it hit a record high of 15.4% in the second quarter, when the pandemic and falling oil prices hit businesses.
Unemployment complaints have become common on social media, even as the government announces megaprojects that officials say will create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
It is not known whether third quarter data will show improvement with the easing of restrictions on coronaviruses.
During this period, the pandemic “had an impact on the economy which affected the Saudi labor market in terms of job stability, job loss, job availability,” the authority said. statistical. “The review of the data and their validity is extended in order to conduct a thorough analysis of the data.”